Safehouse announces Proposed Sites for a Supervised Injection Site in Harrowgate

  Safehouse has announced three locations that are being proposed for a Supervised Injection Site in Harrowgate. The organization intends to choose one of these locations for a Safe Injection Site.

* 1800 block E. Hilton St.

* 2100 block E. Allegheny Ave.

* 3800 block Jasper St.

   There are lots at Clearfield & Ormes Sts. and Clearfield & Rosehill Sts. that have also been identified in Kensington.

  The locations have been identified through information that the University of Pennsylvania’s Injury Science Center had previously gathered to identify suitable locations for mobile units that could offer services to those struggling with substance abuse.

   In a communication to Councilman Mark Squilla, Harrowgate Civic Association President Shannon Farrell, and Impact Services CEO Casey O’Donnell, Safehouse representatives said “Through geographic analyses and direct interviews with stakeholders (municipal employees, healthcare providers, and Philadelphia residents), the Penn Injury Science Center determined quantifiable aspects used to classify each property on each city block.  Using data to assess the suitability of each site, such as distance from public transportation, daycare or school, or whether the property was zoned for industrial, commercial, or residential/mixed-use, they created a formula  to compare suitability.”

   Farrell expressed her frustration at last month’s Harrowgate Civic meeting that Harrowgate is being targeting with a site. Part of the criteria that was used in identifying these locations for the Supervised Injection Site is “City Council District Support”. The three sites in Harrowgate are located in Councilman Mark Squilla’s 1st District. Squilla, at that same meeting, said that he must listen to what his constituents want.  Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez made it clear from the start that she doesn’t want Safehouse in her 7th District.

  Opponents of the sites, such as Farrell, have often said that they’re in favor of saving lives, but that the locations within the neighborhood would breed ground to additional drug dealing, violence and theft — something that no residents should have to deal with.

   The term “Safe Injection Site” isn’t used by advocates of the sites after being mocked by many including law enforcement that say there isn’t such a thing as a “safe” injection. Now, Overdose Prevention Services” and “Supervised Injection Sites” are the terms being used.

   The sites would provide a place for addicts to inject themselves in the presence of those who can reverse an overdose. It’s a harm-reduction strategy designed to save lives. The legality of it has been questioned.

   Early last month U.S. Attorney William McSwain filed a civil lawsuit intended to stop supervised injection sites. U.S. District Court Judge Gerald McHugh has been asked to rule on whether or not Safehouse’s plans are legal, prior to the opening of any facilities.

   The Harrowgate Civic Association will hold its regular monthly meeting tonight, March 7th at Heitzman Recreation Center, 3631 Amber Street, at 6:30 pm.

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