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Drug-Related Homicides in Philadelphia Rises

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In November of 2018, four people were found dead from a gunshot to the head in the basement of a home in West Philadelphia.

Over half a year later, the alleged motivation for the killings has surfaced. It appears that the four murders were another incidence of drug-related homicides in Philadelphia. In particular, this case was over a measly $105 of heroin. With proper heroin addiction treatment, some of these lives may have been spared.

Philly Drug Homicide Rates

The drug-related killings in Philadelphia have been rising for the past ten years. Although the City of Brotherly Love has experienced a somewhat lower number of total homicides than in years past, the percentage of drug-related homicides in Philadelphia have been increasing. According to PEW Research, 18% of homicides in Philly were drug-related in 2012 compared to 32% in 2016. Not only is the rate of increase alarming in a span of just four years’ time, but of the top five motivating factors for homicides, drugs were the only category to increase during this time period.1

These trends have only continued in the past two years. In 2018, it was estimated that 120 of 335 murders were drug-related; with these numbers, the percentage of drug-related homicides in Philadelphia is now close to 36% and has become the top motivating factor behind these killings.2

These rising numbers are cause for concern for people in and around the Philadelphia area as they attempt to understand this change and take steps to decrease these numbers in the future. Many suspect that the opioid crisis may be the biggest contributing factor to blame for this rise.

Philadelphia’s Opioid Crisis

Like most of the country, Philadelphia has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Not only are people killing each other over these drugs, but opioids have been a significant factor behind the number of drug overdose deaths as well. These numbers are particularly alarming in the city of Philadelphia as fatal drug overdoses have increased by more than half from just 2013 to 2015 alone, 80% of which involved opioids.3

Because of these intense numbers, Philadelphia is upping their focus on opioid prescriptions and the opioid crisis, including the mayor's special task force, in the hope of preventing these numbers from increasing even more. One way to try and prevent the number of opioid overdoses and Philly drug homicides from rising is by getting people the appropriate help they need with opiate addiction treatment in Philadelphia.

Drug addictions can lead to some risky circumstances. At Banyan Philadelphia, we find these numbers distressing as we watch our neighbors struggle with these addictions and witness the violence that it leaves behind. Do not let yourself or your loved one fall into one of these dangerous situations.

Our rehab center in Philadelphia will work with you to overcome your substance abuse problems. To learn more about our facility and the programs we offer, contact us today at 888-280-4763.


  1. PEW – Philadelphia’s Drug-Related Homicides Continue to Rise
  2. The Philadelphia Inquirer – Drug killings fuel city’s 2018 homicide uptick, officials say
  3. Philadelphia Department of Public Health – Opioid Overdoses
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Drug-Related Homicides in Philadelphia Rises
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