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Opioid Response Unit

Structure and history

Our structure

The Opioid Response Unit (ORU) consists of four strategy groups that address the health and safety impacts of this crisis. The groups include:

  • Community Support – Increasing community engagement and opportunities for residents
  • Prevention – Reducing overdoses and saving lives
  • Public Safety – Reducing opioid-related criminal activity and increasing social service delivery
  • Treatment – Increasing access to treatment and options

Each group is working toward a larger, unified plan to relieve the burden of opioids on our communities.

Our history

In 2018, an executive order named the growing opioid crisis as a public health emergency. This order created the Philadelphia Resilience Project, which led the emergency response for almost two years. This project focused on Kensington, the epicenter of the opioid crisis. While the project ended in December 2019, community needs continued to evolve.

In February 2020, the City launched the ORU to continue and expand on this work. This ensured that the battle against the opioid crisis would remain a City priority. ORU quickly responded to new challenges across the city, largely due to the tremendous impact COVID-19 had on the opioid epidemic.