The Problem

Controlled prescription drugs, heroin and fentanylopioids text

The abuse of prescription medication has been a serious issue across the country for a while. But now, unfortunately, users are turning to the cheaper and more potent opioids heroin and fentanyl to get high.

Nationwide, among new heroin users, 75 percent report having abused prescription opioids before using heroin.1

The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office recently released the details for 2019 drug overdose deaths in the city, which indicated that overdose deaths totaled 1,150 -- a 3% increase from the 1,116 deaths in 2018. This averages more than three overdose deaths per day in Philadelphia in 2019.

Opioids were detected in 84% of deaths in 2019. Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine were detected in 50% of overdose deaths. Both stimulants and opioids were involved in 48% of overdose deaths.

In 2017, there were 1,217 overdose deaths in Philadelphia.  


Watch: Did you know that 80 percent of local overdoses are caused by opioids? Learn more about the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia. Check out this PSA to learn more.

 Heroin Overdose Data. Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Source:

Philadelphia Overdose Stats

Get the latest key stats about drug overdoses in Philadelphia.

Drug-Related Overdoses

In 2018, 46,802 people in the U.S. died after overdosing on an opioid.