Drugs in Kensington: An Inside Peak at a Dangerous Philly Neighborhood
Philadelphia is known for many things, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Philly cheesesteaks, but it doesn’t stop there.
Although the city has a rich history, not every part of Philly has the best reputation. The neighborhood of Kensington has made a name for itself because of its high rate of crime, poverty, and drugs.
Kensington Philadelphia Drug & Crime Problems
Violent crime and drug abuse in Philadelphia as a whole is a major problem. The city’s violent crime rate is higher than the national average and other similarly sized metropolitan areas.1 Also alarming is Philadelphia’s drug overdose rate. The number of drug overdose deaths in the city increased by 50% from 2013 to 2015, with more than twice as many deaths from drug overdoses as deaths from homicides in 2015.2 A big part of Philadelphia’s problems stem from the crime rate and drug abuse in Kensington.
Because of the high number of drugs in Kensington, the neighborhood has a drug crime rate of 3.57, the third-highest rate by neighborhood in Philadelphia.3 Like a lot of the country, a big part of this issue is a result of the opioid epidemic. Opioid abuse has skyrocketed over the last two decades in the United States and Philadelphia is no exception. Along with having a high rate of drug overdose deaths, 80% percent of Philadelphia’s overdose deaths involved opioids2 and Kensington is a big contributor to this number. This Philly neighborhood is purportedly the largest open-air narcotics market for heroin on the East Coast with many neighboring residents flocking to the area for heroin and other opioids.4 With such a high number of drugs in Kensington, many state and local officials have zoned in on this area to try and tackle Philadelphia’s problem.
Addressing The Drug Problems in Kensington
Getting people into Philadelphia rehab centers is not enough. The opioid epidemic has taken the lives of several people and drug-related crime is hitting the neighborhood hard. In order to work on improving both numbers, officials are starting to roll out several different solutions in this neighborhood specifically.
Many people have started to hand out Narcan, the life-saving drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, to people in this area. In hospitals throughout Philadelphia, the city has started using peer specialists, state-certified people who try to get addicts into treatment. After a legal battle, safe injection sites were ruled legal and the city is now moving forward with plans to open one of these sites in the Kensington neighborhood. This facility would be the first of its kind in the United States.
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
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