Councilwoman Cindy Bass (8th District) applauds Mayor Jim Kenney for the launch of the Police-Assisted Diversion program, and urges the administration to apply the program equitably.
“I released my Five-Point Plan to address substance abuse in February. In his March budget speech, Mayor Jim Kenney expressed interest in working with me and other stakeholders to help combat the substance abuse crisis. And on Friday, I applauded Mayor Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner and other City officials on the launch of Police-Assisted Diversion (PAD), a program designed to help keep citizens suffering from addiction out of jail. This program aligns with one of my five recommendations to ensure the City combats this crisis in a way that departs from our nation’s legacy of discriminatory drug policies and encourages racial and socioeconomic equality. I’m thrilled that the administration plans to roll the program out in the 39th Police District, which falls within the 8th Councilmanic District.
The City announced PAD as part of a multifaceted strategy to specifically ‘fight the opioid epidemic.’ I am confident that City officials want to keep our citizens out of the criminal justice system and usher them into drug treatment, job assistance, and housing programs. However, I implore the administration and other officials to direct PAD programming not just residents suffering from opioid addiction but also those addicted to other substances including crack cocaine, PCP, and alcohol.
We recognize that an increasing number of Philadelphians, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, are being affected by the opioid epidemic. However, a 2017 study found that cocaine deaths among African-Americans is on par with opioid deaths among whites. The study found that, “cocaine was the largest contributor [to overdose deaths] among [non-Hispanic black] men and women over all periods.”
This is just one example that highlights the need to ensure our policies addressing addiction are inclusive. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to save lives stolen by substance abuse.”
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Councilwoman Cindy Bass represents the 8th Council District, which includes Germantown, Mt. Airy, Nicetown, Tioga, Chestnut Hill, portions of Logan, and West Oak Lane. She is Chair of Council’s committees on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Public Health and Human Services.