In February, Councilman Mark Squilla announced that he was keeping an open mind in regards to the opening of Safe Injection Sites in Philadelphia. This past Monday, Squilla publicly spoke in opposition of the sites after speaking with people in addiction in Philadelphia and taking a trip to Toronto to see their Overdose Prevention Sites.
Although the City of Philadelphia gave the people living in the Emerald Street tunnel plenty of time to move out prior to a January 31st final eviction day, most stayed to the end. Squilla spoke with some of them during a counting of the homeless prior to the eviction day. He asked what their plans were. Different answers were given, including ‘go into rehab’.
He made the following comment at a Community Forum on April 1st sponsored by the Harrowgate Civic Association and hosted by Solomon Jones:
“They would not leave until the last day because they (can) continue to get high or continue to do what they were doing until they had to make a choice. If we open this safe house they’ll never have to make that choice to get better. They’ll never have to go anywhere, and so therefore they will continue to stay high and they will continue not to get better. And that’s what I see because I saw it on the street. It’s absolutely true.”