Below are Athena Moore’s thoughts on oversaturation of addiction programs in Harlem and East Harlem:
Harlem and East Harlem have suffered from a rise in illegal drug use and sales; homelessness; and crime. We must use every resource possible to address these concerns. Medical redlining is also a significant problem. The African American and Latino communities have experienced significant barriers and lack of access to services. However, the location of SIF and methadone clinics must be thoughtfully planned specific to the data and need in recognition of the historic and pervasive unfair treatment of our communities. As a City Council member, I will advocate for legislation that prioritizes evidence-based prevention, treatment and care and improved safety outcomes in our neighborhoods. Safe Injection Facilities (SIF) have shown a steep reduction in deaths by overdose and is one method to help combat the opioid crisis, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the proliferation has led to an oversaturation in Harlem and East Harlem. I support a moratorium on methadone clinics and fair share of harm reduction facilities. Harlem bears a disproportionate burden of facilities and I strongly believe we must correct this imbalance. We must have equity in determining the location of these sites and ensure an increase in funding and resources for public safety, sanitation/trash removal, mental health assistance and homeless prevention. For nearly a decade, I have worked directly with the 125th St TaskForce, the District Attorney’s Office, NYPD, DOH, 125th St BID, MMPCIA, local block associations and others to encourage cross-agency coordination and I will continue to facilitate necessary planning with the Mayor, City Council and city agencies to address the growing concerns. I will support increased police presence and drug surveillance in identified high crime and drug areas. I have worked with Greater Harlem Coalition since it’s inception and will remain vigilant in advocacy and action. I will advocate for culturally responsive services and address related stigma to ensure that the needs of substance abuse, homelessness, and mental health are met with dignity and compassion but not to the expense of the quality of life and safety of local residents.