Survey: 1 in 3 Philadelphia adults have used prescription opioid in last year

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has unveiled the results of a survey showing the scope of the opioid crisis within the city.

According to the survey, one in three adults in Philadelphia have used prescription opioid, including Oxycontin, Percocet, or Vicodin in the past year.

An estimated 168,000 of Philadelphians reported on the survey had used prescription opioids in the seven days prior to being surveyed.

19% of current opioid users reported getting these opioids from friends, relatives, or street dealers, but 76% reported getting their opioids from their health care providers.

The survey also found that an estimated 62,000 Philadelphians are taking both opioids and benzodiazepines, including Xanax and Klonopin, at the same time. The Department of health described the combination as dangerous, adding that it significantly increases the risk of overdose.

"While in the past we've primarily reported data on drug overdoses, this survey shows what is truly fueling this epidemic. It's shocking how many people are using these dangerous, highly addictive drugs, and disturbing that physicians continue to prescribe them so carelessly. Doctors need to prescribe these drugs less often, in lower doses and for shorter durations," Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

The department explained that finding out how people in Philadelphia are getting addicted is an integral part of fighting the opioid crisis.

Philadelphia reported more than 900 overdose deaths in 2016, and the Department of Public Health noted that there was a likelihood for an even higher total in 2017.