Unlike most of the country recently experiencing the drug epidemic, Philadelphia has had a heroin problem that has been around for decades. In 2016 there were over 900 deaths recorded, and 2017 the city was on track for over 1,200 overdose deaths. Overdose is the number one cause of death for those aged 25-44.
The heroin epicenter of Philly is an area known as Kensington. Kensington has been known as a heroin haven for a number of years. Needles on the ground everywhere, and people nodding in and out of consciousness is a familiar seen in the Philadelphia drug district. There is an area along the rail line on the Kensington train tracks that has been known to local users as “the hospital.” This area is a makeshift, tenting district where addicts go to safely shoot up.
The police in Philadelphia rarely want to go into these needle infested areas because of how dangerous they are. Some say that there will be overdoses but people won’t call them in because they don’t want to see the law enforcement come into their drug areas, so people are literally dying when they could have gotten help.
Philadelphia has been dealing with the heroin and opioid crisis since the 1980s, this is one of the main reasons why the city has been open to harm reduction programs. In the US, Philly was one of the first cities to implement a needle exchange program with goals to reduce the spread of disease. More recently, the city is taking action to host safe injection sites to reduce the overdose rate. All of these programs that have been or are in the process of being implemented are to deal with the crisis at hand. The thought behind harm reduction programs being that the opioid crisis is so out of control in Philly, in order to combat this problem there must be many different angles of attack.
For those who are struggling with the addiction to drugs, treatment options must be more readily available. The best way to ensure safety surrounding the drug epidemic is for the addict to receive the proper addiction treatment needed. In Philadelphia there are many different forms of drug rehab for those suffering from this deadly disease.