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How fentanyl took over Pa.; where Philly lacks primary health care | Morning Newsletter

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A fentanyl user who didn't want to be identified holds a needle near Kensington and Cambria in Philadelphia, PA on October 22, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
A fentanyl user who didn't want to be identified holds a needle near Kensington and Cambria in Philadelphia, PA on October 22, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff PhotographerRead moreDavid Maialetti / Staff Photographer

Are you one of the many Philadelphians lacking access to primary health care? A new report we're talking about this morning zeroes in on the health care deserts in our city and, on a more positive note, what can be done to fill them. Another health crisis facing the region, the opioid epidemic, is seeing challenges in the form of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid. Today my colleague Aubrey Whelan has a new look at how the drug took over Pennsylvania. Oh, and don't worry we do have lottery news for you.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn,

» READ MORE: How fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid, took over Pennsylvania

The opioid crisis didn't sweep through Pennsylvania overnight, but a new report reveals just how fentanyl took over the state in the last few years.

The deadly synthetic opioid is cheaper to produce than heroin and it's significantly more powerful and more addictive.

Law-enforcement officials say pure economics are driving the rise of fentanyl, and opioid users young and old are paying for it with their lives.

» READ MORE: In Philadelphia, some neighborhoods lack access to primary health-care clinics

City officials revealed a new report Tuesday they said gives a comprehensive view of primary care across Philadelphia — and for some neighborhoods, it's not good news.

If you're living in the far northeast and southwest parts of Philadelphia, you face a significant lack of access to primary health care options.

To fill in these health care deserts, officials recommend health systems expand where the need is greatest. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health also said it's looking to open a new health care center in the northeast.

» READ MORE: Philly-area GOP senators targeted in campaign ad on clergy abuse

The debate in the state Capitol over a bill to help victims of alleged clergy sex abuse, which the GOP-controlled chamber failed to vote on last week, is far from over.

In fact, now it's a campaign issue. Today Democrats will begin airing a television ad knocking moderate Republican senators from the Philadelphia suburbs for their inaction on a bill endorsed by Gov. Wolf, top law enforcement officials, the House of Representatives, and victim advocates.

Meanwhile, GOP candidates in our region are focusing on fear as they head into key congressional races, writes reporter Jonathan Tamari.

What you need to know today

  1. Well, somebody won. Lottery officials say a winning ticket for the record $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot was purchased in South Carolina. Now the winner has to decide what to do next.  Million-dollar tickets were sold in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, too.

  2. Double check those weekend plans — it looks like a nor'easter could bring nasty weather to our region. (And remember, I'm just the messenger.)

  3. On Tuesday the former mayor of Allentown, Ed Pawlowski, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for rigging municipal contracts in order to raise money for his failed campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate.

  4. The vast majority of some 7,000 Central American migrants seeking to reach the U.S. border are from Honduras. Poverty and gang violence there lead many to see emigration as the only possibility for a decent life.

  5. On Tuesday a panel of Pennsylvania Superior Court judges held a hearing to consider whether a woman serving a life sentence for a crime she committed at age 18 should have been considered a juvenile. Their decision could have far-reaching implications.

  6. Liberty Property Trust, which built Comcast's Center City towers and is a main developer of the Navy Yard, is getting out of the office business to focus on being an industrial landlord.

  7. As if the Eagles don't have enough problems right now, defensive end Derek Barnett is going to miss the rest of the season. He's undergoing rotator cuff surgery after suffering an injury earlier in the season.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

What a peaceful view, @danlc. I love that you can just see the Philly skyline in the background.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we'll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting

  1. Microplastics aren't just found in oceans and sea animals. Now, according to a new study, they're found in human feces, too. Yuck.

  2. Speaking of yuck, earlier this month a number of Philadelphia eateries were closed for health violations, including live roaches nesting in an oven.

  3. Way better restaurant news: Craig LaBan has answered readers' calls to recommend some classic restaurants in the suburbs to go along with his new Philly-focused dining guide.

  4. This Sunday the Eagles are playing the Jaguars all the way in London and the game will start at 9:30 a.m. our time. Luckily there are plenty of Philly bars opening for the game if you're up for it.

  5. The Phillies may not be playing in the World Series (sad face) but the players in their minor league system are giving us a lot to look forward to, thanks to reporter Bob Brookover's position-by-position rundown.

  6. BYOBs are so 2017. A growing number of bars in Philadelphia let you bring your own food instead. Just don't forget napkins.


"If recent news reports about child sex abuse and sexual assault have taught us anything, it is to listen to the victim. The impact of child abuse and sexual assault may be felt for a lifetime, but the sooner we can listen, the sooner we can provide help, and the sooner healing can take place." Cynthia F. Figueroa, commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, on
— why it’s up to all of us to keep kids safe.
  1. Columnist Will Bunch writes that President Trump's lie-filled "nationalist" war on the Central American caravan and the transgender community is another step towards tyranny in the U.S.

  2. Kathryn Kugler, president of the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants, writes to argue the Pennsylvania Senate should take up two bills that would improve patient care throughout Pennsylvania next voting session.

What we’re reading

  1. Eliu Nazario, aka Karaz, a street art pioneer who was part of Philly's early hip-hop movement, died earlier this month. Billy Penn's look back at his vast and varied career is an important piece of local history.

  2. Ahead of Bill Cosby's appeal of his conviction for sexual assault, the New York Times has dug into his long history with lawyers and it's quite a journey.

  3. This month marks the Benjamin Franklin Parkway's 100th birthday and, to celebrate, Hidden City gathered up photos of the Parkway from as far back as 1918 for a trip down memory lane.

  4. NextCity is asking an important question you've probably never considered when opening up your favorite cash app: what happens to street performers in a cashless economy? Take time to consider it now.

  5. Were you bored by last night's World Series game? Commiserate with a self-described "very sleepy baseball fan" at the Ringer.

Your Daily Dose of | Fat Felines

Is your cat getting a little … round? As adorable as it may be, feline obesity can cause serious health problems. Luckily, there are ways to help your kitty slim down.