Consequences of cleaning up the drug market

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Drug cleanup consequences. Christie Ileto reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 2, 2017. (WPVI)

While Philadelphia tackles the epicenter of the heroin epidemic in Kensington, we're learning more about what happened to those who once called the camp below Gurney Street home.

Living in the shadows below the bridge at Lehigh and Emerald, addict Laura Mulholland says their homeless drug camp has seen new faces since the cleanup started.

She told Action News Wednesday she sees people who have just been displaced.

"It was like four people down here, they came here yesterday. It's hard when you don't have anywhere to go," Mulholland said.

Earlier this week, the city began removing needles, trash, and dismantling the drug haven on Gurney Street that for decades personified Philadelphia's opioid crisis.

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Watch the report from Wendy Saltzman on Action News at 4 p.m. on July 31, 2017.

"We had to make a move. We had to clean up the area, secure it, and get people into the proper treatment," Mayor Jim Kenney said.

So far, the city has placed almost two dozen people into permanent housing or long treatment facilities.

But then there are those who don't want help.

Tammy Hartenstine, an outreach worker for St. Mark's in Frankford, says they need to want to change.

"You have to want to get clean, you have to want to go to detox, and you have to want to go to rehab," Hartenstine said.

Still, one recovering addict named Scott says he's already seeing change.

"There's more cops on the street, walking around. So it has been getting a lot better," Scott said.

While police are beefing up patrol, the city is making more resources available to those looking to for help.

It really boils down to each individual and whether they want to get clean themselves.
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