CM Quinones Sanchez in Chambers

STATEMENT FROM COUNCILMEMBER SÁNCHEZ REGARDING JUDGE MCHUGH’S SAFEHOUSE RULING

In Council News, Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez, News by PHL Council

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PHILADELPHIA — October 2, 2019 — “Representing the 7th Council District, I have worked for years with partners in the harm reduction community and witnessed the evolution of addiction treatment and harm reduction. As a result of my deep involvement in this area, I agree with Judge McHugh’s central determination in this case: I do not consider Safehouse to be at all comparable to a ‘crack house,’ and I understand and support the legal distinction made in today’s ruling. But that doesn’t mean that this intervention is right for Kensington at this time.

“In Kensington and Fairhill, an entrenched regional crisis of public health, safety, and sanitation creates daily hazards and trauma for the community I represent. Our inability to effectively address this declared, ongoing emergency situation shows that we are not ready to add an injection site in Kensington.

“Injection sites have been successfully opened in locations where government has taken responsibility to fund, run, and own the programming. We are not there yet.

“Every day, I work with and learn from my community and from advocates, including Jose Benitez, a longtime partner of my office. My office is engaged constantly in multi-agency efforts to remove barriers to treatment and provide better services. I have led the push to increase appropriations to restore communities and provide treatment and housing for individuals in addiction.

“My experience fighting to reform our system has confirmed that we cannot consider an injection site in Kensington until we rebuild community trust by providing safety, stability, and restorative investment.

“Comprehensive user engagement must be part of a reformed continuum of care, that addresses the citywide nature of this crisis. As we move forward, I will continue to focus my work on my district and my constituents, and on our ongoing efforts to bring a better deployment of resources to address the complex causes and consequences of the crisis.”

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