January 23, 2018 – Treating the disease of addiction while curbing the drug crisis is a difficult task. No one said it was going to be easy. However, if community members can unite in their efforts, we can help those struggling with the effects.
Philadelphia officials and leaders from the city’s Kensington neighborhood hosted a community meeting to discuss efforts to address the epidemic, according to Billy Penn. Michael DiBerardinis, the city’s managing director, presented a few potential solutions.
Ideas included instituting a new type of homeless shelter where people didn’t need to show identification to enter and didn’t require people to stay the whole night. This would encourage individuals struggling with addiction to access the facility.
Another proposal includes a recently passed law that directs state funding to certified recovery houses. The certification mandates that recovery houses meet certain qualifications.
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As DiBerardinis spoke in front of city officials, nonprofit workers and community residents, a few tears did fall from his eyes.
“I have never been so frustrated, depressed at times, mad at myself,” he said, “for not being able to do what we need to do to keep this neighborhood safe.” He assured the audience, “We’re trying, and we’ll continue to do that with you.”
He also admitted that the city’s outreach hasn’t always been enough.
“We’re going to make mistakes,” DiBerardinis said. “But never, ever think that we’re not going to stay here with you and fight this thing out.”
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