Debate rages in Kensington over proposed safe injection site

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The debate rages on in Kensington over a proposed safe injection site.

On Monday night the room was packed at a community run forum at Bethel Temple Community Bible Church.

Safehouse, a non-profit chaired by former Governor Ed Rendell, wants to spend almost $2 million a year to operate a safe injection site in Kensington-- an area ravaged by the opioid epidemic.

The debate got heated. Some argue this would never happen in a wealthy neighborhood.

Residents pointed out there are homes and schools in walking distance of a proposed site.

One resident addressed the audience saying, "If it's a medical situation, why not do it in the hospital? I'm sure Episcopal campus will open their doors. I'm sure Frankford Hospital will open its doors. I'm sure we can open Northeast Hospital. It doesn't belong where this is."

Others argue that Kensington is the epicenter of the epidemic, so it makes sense to bring the safe injection site to the area where the problem is most acute. They believe these sites would be a safer alternative, providing overdose prevention services.

Another neighbor said, "They're going to use anyway. My point of view is that they're going to use, and we have to meet folks, we have to meet human beings exactly where they are."

Another community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m. at Heitzman Rec Center at 3631 Amber Street.

Representatives from Safehouse are invited to attend.
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