PHILADELPHIA – Today, Mayor Jim Kenney and City officials shared the City’s plans to invest funds from the national opioid settlements into City- and community-led programs over the next two years. Philadelphia will receive approximately $200 million over the course of 18 years. The City plans to invest these initial payments into an array of crisis response strategies, including both citywide and neighborhood programs as well as efforts to address the individual and community impacts of opioids. These include:
The recently-announced Overdose Prevention and Community Healing Fund, now accepting applications
Investments in Kensington neighborhood supports including basic systems home repair, rent relief, and school improvements
Launch of Mobile Methadone
Mobile wound care
Expansion of targeted outreach and engagement for at-risk communities
Additional housing opportunities to support long-term recovery
Expansion of Medication Assisted Treatment Behind the Walls to include increased dosage of buprenorphine and availability of methadone
“These investments have been informed and guided by the insight and collaboration generously offered by community leaders,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The overdose crisis has wrought incalculable harm on communities across the United States, and the grief and community trauma have compounded for years in Philadelphia as well – especially in Kensington and the surrounding neighborhoods. In the face of this evolving crisis, we are committed to prevention, treatment, and healing and achieving long-term change. We believe this plan can immediately impact lives and produce outcomes that residents can see and feel – in their parks, their schools and their homes.”
In 2021, Philadelphia recorded 1,276 unintentional overdose deaths, the highest annual rate of overdose fatalities in the city’s history. The lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, restricted access to healthcare and harm reduction services, and the changing drug supply are factors in these trends.
“The isolation and stress of the pandemic and the growing presence of fentanyl in opioids and other drugs have led to an overall increase in unintentional drug overdose deaths, as well as a very troubling increase in overdoses among Black and Hispanic/Latino/a Philadelphians,” said Noelle Foizen, Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Overdose Response Unit. “This crisis is growing more complex by the day, and the settlement funds will give our outreach, care, and community services a much-needed opportunity for expansion. We are committed to working across City departments and with community members and partner organizations to put an end to this crisis and heal together from the damage and trauma it’s caused.”
Community investment is a core part of the City’s commitment to addressing the harm inflicted by opioids in Philadelphia. The City announced today that $7.5 million will be invested in a Kensington Health & Wellness Corridors master planning effort being led by New Kensington Community Development Corporation and Impact Services.
In a joint statement, Dr. Casey O’Donnell, President/CEO of Impact Services and Dr. Bill McKinney, Executive Director of New Kensington Community Development Corporation said:
“We are heartened that the City has made a significant contribution towards addressing key challenges that have been identified by so many stakeholders in our community. We are looking forward to not only the additional resources coming into our neighborhood but for the opportunity for everyone to bring their strengths to the table through a community driven, trauma informed, comprehensive planning and implementation process. Together we will shape Kensington’s future so that current community members can thrive.”
Last month, the City announced that a portion of opioid settlement funds will be distributed through a grantmaking process to community-based organizations. Organizations interested in applying for grants from the Overdose Prevention and Community Healing Fund can learn more and submit an application through the Scattergood Foundation. The Fund will invest in overdose prevention, substance use awareness, and harm reduction programs, in addition to broad efforts that address community trauma, stigma associated with substance use, and promote safety and mental well-being for communities and community-based workers in the substance use field. Applications are due Friday, February 3.