Kensington, Philadelphia is a large neighbourhood, but the most unpleasant statistics associated with it is that here have happened many overdose deaths and most of the residents suffer from an opioid addiction.
he situation is alarming, if we consider that this neighbourhood occupies nearly 2% of Philadelphia’s area, but leads the country’s chart when it comes to overdoses – 18% of people who died because of opioid abuse resided here. Now, authorities think that they found a solution: they are planning to build a place where addicts can use drugs supervised by medical attention and where they can learn ways for treating their addiction.
Of course, this idea made the residents furious and they had numerous fights with the city officials on that matter during a dedicated meeting that took place last week in Fox Chase. Considering peoples’ reaction, an important question still remains: will the first safe-injection site from Philadelphia and US still be hosted by Kensington?
What is the city officials’ response
Tuesday night, city officials organized a meeting with community members and they discussed the epidemic crisis together. The officials presented their 18-point plan for fighting the crisis, but this measure was the most controversial. Residents are not very fond of the idea that drug addicts might have a place where they can use drugs, even under medical supervision in their neighbourhood. Most of them think that this will not contribute to stopping the opioids epidemic; on the contrary, it could spread it.
On the other hand, authorities and locals have to consider the fact that nowadays, more and more people are using drugs all over the street. Most of them live in tents and don’t have any problem in using heroin on the sidewalk. If the safe injection site will prevent this from happening in the future, some Kensington residents say that they will support the authorities’ idea.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca