Lawmaker will host meeting on drug rehabs

State Rep. James Clay (D-179th dist.) will be con­duct­ing a town hall meet­ing on il­leg­al re­cov­ery houses in Frank­ford from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, in the second-floor con­fer­ence room of Aria Health’s Frank­ford cam­pus, 4900 Frank­ford Ave.

Clay said he wants res­id­ents to re­port these il­leg­al re­cov­ery houses to his of­fice.

ldquo;Com­plaints have been com­ing in about spe­cif­ic houses, which have no leg­al sanc­tion in Pennsylvania or Phil­adelphia law,” the law­maker said in an Aug. 2 news re­lease.

Leg­al drug-re­hab­il­it­a­tion fa­cil­it­ies have a strong pres­ence on Frank­ford Av­en­ue, too, Clay said dur­ing an Aug. 15 in­ter­view. Iron­ic, since the Av­en­ue is no­tori­ous for il­leg­al drug sales.

Clay said he saw no reas­on for ad­dic­tion-treat­ment fa­cil­it­ies to be loc­ated on a street known for the nar­cot­ics trade. Ad­dicts can come to Frank­ford Av­en­ue treat­ment cen­ters and then score drugs on their way home, Clay said.

Mem­bers of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation long have griped about the pro­lif­er­a­tion of both leg­al and il­leg­al fa­cil­it­ies set up to either treat or house re­cov­er­ing ad­dicts. As­so­ci­ation mem­bers in 2009 main­tained that such fa­cil­it­ies, even if leg­ally set up, are det­ri­ment­al to the neigh­bor­hood, say­ing their pres­ence dis­cour­ages in­vest­ment in the com­munity.

Last sum­mer, Penn Street res­id­ents suc­cess­fully fought a plan to con­vert an apart­ment house in­to “trans­ition­al hous­ing” for re­cov­er­ing ad­dicts. 

“Frank­ford has more drug fa­cil­it­ies than any­where else in the United States,” Pete Specos, the civic as­so­ci­ation’s pres­id­ent and zon­ing of­ficer, said Aug. 15.

Clay aide Tim Sav­age poin­ted to the fur­or in Holmes­burg about planned open­ings of meth­adone treat­ment fa­cil­it­ies on Frank­ford Av­en­ue and State Road. Drug treat­ment fa­cil­it­ies are not new to Frank­ford, he said.

“We have all the same prob­lems,” he said, “but we had them first.”

Il­leg­al hous­ing for ad­dicts — those set up without prop­er city zon­ing or per­mits — are be­lieved to be all over Frank­ford, Sav­age said. 

“The man­agers of these prop­er­ties are pil­fer­ing gov­ern­ment sub­sidies from ad­dicted per­sons who are said to be in re­cov­ery; but, in­stead of provid­ing real treat­ment, many of these houses are al­low­ing res­id­ents to con­tin­ue to use, dis­trib­ute and sell il­li­cit nar­cot­ics,” Clay stated.

He said he hopes to identi­fy il­leg­al op­er­a­tions. Be­fore the meet­ing, he stated, res­id­ents may re­port il­leg­al re­cov­ery houses by call­ing his of­fice at 215-518-6714. ••

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