FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2021
Contact: Syderia Asberry-Chresfield, 917-674-3313, firstname.lastname@example.org
It is not for Greater Harlem Coalition (GHC) to comment on which form of harm reduction programs in Harlem best help patients with substance dependency recover, be it methadone clinics, needle exchanges, or supervised injection sites.
What is outrageous to GHC is that the government is doubling down on its inequitable history of over-concentrating drug treatment and harm reduction programs in Harlem despite years of community objections. The decades-long practice of placing socially burdensome municipal services in this black and brown neighborhood has led to nearly 20% of the city’s drug treatment facilities being located in East and Central Harlem, a small district with only 3.5% of NYC’s population.
This concentration has drawn drug dealers to the district, creating a range of quality-of-life issues. Adding a supervised injection site in Harlem, and not other districts, will only exacerbate the problem. Harlem residents, our children and our minority-owned small businesses will again bear the costs that come with excessive concentration of these programs. At the core, disproportionately packing Harlem with these programs constitutes a violation of our children and families’ civil rights to a healthful living environment. Before considering opening a supervised injection site as a solution of the quality of life issues in Harlem, the city and the state must first reduce the excessive concentration of harm reduction programs in Harlem and add high quality drug treatment programs in other parts of New York that have been defunded by the previous New York Governor.
To be clear, GHC supports small scale, effective harm reduction programs located throughout all New York City neighborhoods. However, we strongly object to continually packing these facilities into Harlem as in reality addiction transcends race, class, and geography.
In New York City, there are numerous other districts with similar or higher overdose rates, but have fewer such programs. There are several districts with only slightly lower overdose rates, but have no drug treatment programs at all. Data obtained through FOIL has shown that although Manhattan has about 20% of the city’s population, 40% of the city’s drug treatment capacity certified by OASAS (Office of Addiction Services and Support) is located in Manhattan, and half of that is in East and Central Harlem. To see the underlying data, refer to the letter sent to OASAS here.
One can only explain this continuous pattern of unfair distribution of municipal facilities as a perpetuation of the systemic racism that many local, state and national politicians purport to be fighting.
Lastly, the siting of the Nation’s first formal supervised injection site without public consultation with Harlem’s residents is an in-your-face demonstration of how the political establishment in New York City continues to ignore the opinions of communities of color for the benefit of wealthier and often whiter neighborhoods. (see letter from community board 11)
The Greater Harlem Coalition, representing 120+ local Harlem organizations, requests that the mayor and the governor reduce the capacity of drug treatment programs in Harlem in a way that is consistent with the fair share principle as drafted by the city council in 2017. The redistribution would greatly help improve the quality of life issues in Harlem and improve accessibility of healthcare for all patients in New York City.
We call on our elected officials to join us in asking the mayor and the governor to take immediate actions.
The Greater Harlem Coalition is comprised of the following tenant groups, block associations, faith-based organizations, schools, small businesses, cultural institutions, and not-for-profits in Harlem & East Harlem. Visit us at greaterharlem.nyc and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
BLOCK ASSOCIATIONS 100 Block Association of West 118th Street 100-168 West 121st Street Resident Block Association 118 Street Block Association 120th Street Block Association 124 East 117th Street Tenants Association 128th Street Block Association 1775 Houses Tenants Association 97-98 Lexington & Park Ave. Neighbors A. Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance A.K. Houses Tenants Association Dorrence Brooks Property Owners & Residents Association LenoxFive 127th Street Block Association Mirada Home Owners Association Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association Neighbors United of West 132nd Street Block Association New 123rd Street Block Association (Lenox - 7th) Sugar Hill Concerned Neighbors Group West 119th Block Association West 121st Street Block Association West Graham Court Residents Council Hamilton Terrace Block Association Harlem Neighborhood Block Association Lenox to 5th 124th Street Block Association 126th Street Block Association West 130th Street Homeowners Association West 132nd Street Block Association West 135th Street Block Association West 136th Street Block Association The Melrose Committee for Change Harlem East Block Association Madison Avenue HDFC 181 East 119th Street Tenants Association Central Park North Block Association SMALL BUSINESSES 314 - Pizza, Pasta & Wine Bar Chaiwali Chocolat Restaurant & Bar Columbus Distributors Compass Realty DR3J Consultants Edward Jones Elaine Perry Associates Eye Cycle Freeland Liqour Gastiaburo + Stella Real Estate Ginjan Cafe Hakimian Organization Halstead Manhattan Harlem Lofts Harlem Properties Inc. Harlem Shake Harlem Wine Gallery HarlemHome HarlemHoopz Il Cafe Latte 1 Il Cafe Latte 2 Indian Summer Harlem Jacqueline Allmond Cuisine INC Le Petit Parisien Lido Malcolm Pharmacy Paris Blues Jazz Club R. Kenyatta Punter and Associates Rubys Vintage SottoCasa Pizzeria T.H.E. Works Upholstery Lab Uptown Townhouse Valeries Signature Salon Wynn Optics USA Deli & Grocery MoHo Dance Harlem American Virgo Hardware Clay Asberry and Associates, LLC D and D Enterprise CentralCasting Solutions LLC Pativity, LLC Covington Realty Services Super Nice Coffee and Bakery Gold Appraisal Carthage Advisors Experience Harlem L.A. Sweets NY Nouvelle Home Improvements Space Management Design H M Art And Home Decor The Monkey Cup NOT FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS Ask Ascend Virtual Assistance Advocates 4 The Community ATAPE Group, LLC CIVITAS Ephesus SDA Church Friendly Hands Ministry Friends of the Harriett Tubman Monument Future Giants Organization Greater Calvary Baptist Church Harlem Arts Foundation Harlem Business Alliance Harlem Lacrosse Harlem Park to Park MXB United New York Council for Housing Development Fund Companies, Inc. Open Hands Legal Services Progressives Educating New Yorkers, Inc. Sayers and Doers Silicon Harlem Union Settlement House United New Church of Christ Uptown Democratic Club StreetSquash Silent Procession Nyc4pr AAPI for Change Harlem Link Charter School