In the Philadelphia area, Eastern students, many from the city, know all too well some of the harsh realities this city faces. Kensington especially faces a harsh reality due to its complicated history.
After pharmaceutical companies over-prescribed addictive painkillers in the 1990s, new users came to Kensington in order to get their high. This led to Philadelphia having the highest death rate of any big city.
Now, many who suffer with addiction have resorted to the streets to sell, use, and bond over a variety of drugs. However, many community members who are not involved with the drug use scene do not want these people wandering around their neighborhood with children present.
This outrage from other community members led law enforcement to enter these hubs of addicts.
Although there are smaller hubs of addicts present, after these larger ones were put to a stop, many addicts are forced into community centers and homeless shelters. However, this does not stop any of the problems.
However, with all of these issues piling up for the addict community of Kensington, different organizations have entered in order to help. One group is Prevention-Point Philadelphia. There, the team of helping professionals specialize in harm reduction. This means that they participate in syringe exchange and provide condoms, wound care kits, bleach, and Hep-C and HIV education among other things to help this at risk community. All the while, the community organization is providing open communication, making their establishment a judgement-free zone.
Everyday, this organization steps into the community and collect dirty needles and provide clean, packaged needles to addicts. Getting the dirty needles off of the streets of Kensington is a step to help eliminate the harm of different blood-borne illnesses that have plagued the community for years. Prevention Point Philadelphia is allowed in Philadelphia but is federally illegal because helping professionals are knowingly, in a way, aiding an addict in their addiction. However, these community workers still defy the odds and working for those in need. Their main goal is to prevent as many deaths as possible. In their eyes, harm reduction does this.
All in all, it is vital for community organizations to implement programs that help those who are most impacted from society.