In 2016, white non-Hispanic residents had the highest hospitalization rate for heroin overdoses in the state. But by 2017, Hispanic Pennsylvanians were being admitted to hospitals for heroin overdoses more often than white or black residents.
Officials in the building trades have long believed that their members, who take physically demanding jobs and risk serious injuries that often require pain medication, are uniquely predisposed to addiction and overdose. A new study backs them up.
Since February at Riverside Correctional Facility, the city women's prison, doctors have been prescribing inmates Suboxone - one of the medication-assisted treatments proven to give opioid users the best shot at recovery. The Suboxone program is expanding to the rest of the prison system this month.
The weekend's overdose cluster drove home a fact that advocates, law enforcement officials, and drug users have known for months: Philadelphia's heroin supply, long noted for its purity and cheapness, is almost entirely contaminated.
Aubrey Whelan is a staff writer assigned to the enterprise team. Since joining the Inquirer in 2012, she has covered crime in Philadelphia and everything in Chester County.