Lately, Philadelphia has not been known for its safe streets.
Images from the Kensington neighborhood show mentally ill, drug addicted, chronically unsheltered individuals in an amalgam of squalor and human detritus. Online, footage from the mass looting of an Apple Store, Footlocker, and Lululemon has gone viral. Still elsewhere, open-air drug markets have become the norm, contributing to overdose deaths from fentanyl and other street drugs increasing 11% since 2021.
Setting the stage for these social disasters are ultra-left-wing policies which promote lawlessness, provide no accountability, and punish law-abiding citizens instead those who deserve it.
Well, the Philadelphia City Council has finally said enough is enough and taken a serious step to end these fatal policies.
Of these policies, the most harmful, ironically, is that of Harm Reduction. The general premise of Harm Reduction is to create safer conditions for drug addicts, provide supervised places for addicts to consume their drugs of choice, give away clean paraphernalia to consume those drugs and offer a way to dispose of that paraphernalia in a way that does not spread disease.
While some argue that Harm Reduction is sound and proponents say that it is evidence-based, nothing could be further from the truth.
One of the tenets of Harm Reduction is providing a safe place for substance abusers to use drugs under supervision and clinic-like conditions. This means that anyone from off the street can walk into one of these facilities with drugs in hand and use them. Should they use too much and overdose a volunteer is on hand to administer Narcan to revive the person. This may prevent death in the present, but it absolutely does not reduce harm. Of the thousands of overdose reversals that such places tout as their metric for success many are repeat patients. The same people overdosing over-and-over again will eventually lead to such irreparable brain damage that it begins to effect other bodily systems, possibly effecting the cardio-respiratory system leading to death.
Proponents will also say that these sites experience a low mortality rate, but it is likely because they don’t count deaths of patients on the way to an actual hospital in their statistics. Supporters will also say that crime has gone down in traditionally troubled neighborhoods because of sites like these but in reality, it is because increased police presence is assigned to these troubled areas.
This may seem like a far-off problem, and something that Texas doesn’t have to worry about, but practices like these are slowly creeping into our cities. Texas cities are already trying to treat their homeless population with zero accountability programs like Housing First that uses taxpayer dollars to provide housing for anyone off the street without requiring substance abuse treatment or mental health screenings. It’s this kind of environment combined with a federal acquiescence to the proliferation of drug consumption sites that could lead to Texas having to face these same issues.
A Philadelphia non-profit, Safe House, had been in talks with the federal government to allow them to administer the services of a ‘safe’ injection site. However, the city council in Philadelphia realized that this could set a precedent for places like this and banned them before they spread throughout not only the city but further into the state. As Texans, we too need to denounce the hollow promise of harm reduction and recognize there is no such thing as safe injection site.