CBS News: Oversaturation of Harlem has attracted illegal drug sellers

CBS News story on how the Oversaturation of drug clinics in Harlem attracts scores of illegal drug sellers

Last night the co-founder of The Greater Harlem Coalition, the President of MMPCIA, and other concerned residents from our community were featured on CBS News. The article explored how the oversaturation of substance abuse programs in Harlem and East Harlem has attracted scores of illegal drug sellers who prey on the men and women seeking addiction help.

Drug deal W. 124th St between Lenox and ACP

The CBS reporter was shown photographs, and video evidence of how the OASAS licensed programs fail to monitor or supervise their clients before or after treatment, and turn a blind eye to the drug selling and using that is occurring steps from their programs.

Residents complained about how Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo have tolerated the decline in public safety in our community and failed to address it – in sharp contrast to the Mayoral response to complaints from the Upper West Side.

The powerful coverage features a number of our visualizations from the data that prove our claims.

When asked to respond to the issue of oversaturation and our deteriorating quality of life, the Mayor’s Office gave a non-response and avoided addressing the question:

Click here to see the full segment:

OASAS Denies Responsibility for Decades of Oversaturating Harlem

OASAS Refuses to Accept Responsibility for Decades of Oversaturating Harlem

One of the Greater Harlem Coalition’s members received a letter from Zoraida Diaz, a District Director at OASAS.

What is missing from her passing-the-buck response is any acknowledgment of how OASAS has spent decades overstaturating Harlem and East Harlem with addiction programs that other wealthier and whiter communities have successfully blocked. This super concentration of programs (and the men and women who attend them), has become a magnet for illegal drug sellers and caused a toxic decline in our quality of life in Harlem and East Harlem.

Acknowledging OASAS’s role in creating the situation we see on East and West 125th Street and down adjacent Avenues, would be a first step to addressing the roots of the systemic racism that has led to the intolerable conditions we experience every day on the streets of our community.

Sadly, OASAS offers no willingness to begin a conversation on how to end the oversaturation they are responsible for, and how to achieve fair share goals for all New York communities.

Significant Increases in Admits to Harlem Opioid Treatment Programs: 2017–2020 See all NYC statistics

Comparing identical examples of OASAS FOIL data from 2017 and now 2020, we are able to see how admissions to Opioid Treatment Programs have increased or decreased in specific communities.

The map below shows increases in red and decreases in blue.

Click on the map and hover over any of the dots to learn more. Note that the size of the dot indicates a larger program.

Opioid Treatment Locations and Admission Totals

Our latest Greater Harlem Coalition data, from a 2019/2020 FOIL request to OASAS, has yielded a map of the location of Opioid Treatment Programs in New York City and their admission totals:

Zoom into Harlem and East Harlem to see the local clusters licensed by OASAS that have oversaturated Harlem and East Harlem as well as the South Bronx:

Here is the full interactive map.

Oversaturation in CB11

East Harlem has 14% of NYC’s opioid treatment capacities but only 1.5% of NYC’s population

A resident of CB11 has undertaken an amazing analysis of how oversaturated East Harlem is:

While East Harlem has 1.5% of New York City’s population, it has 13.6% of New York City’s drug treatment capacity, according to data as of 2019 from NY agency OASAS. The graphic below illustrates how severely East Harlem is oversaturated with drug treatment facilities. This unfair social injustice MUST END!

East Harlem has 1.5% of population but 13.6% of drug treatment capacity
Data source: NYC Government OASAS Agency as a FOIL request by Y Pielet as of April 2019

With so many patients commuting into East Harlem for drug treatment, our district is overburdened while already struggling with other social, environmental, economic, and educational issues. Petition to your elected officials – Send Email or call them -to either dramatically reduce our 13.6% burden or perhaps allocate 13.6% of New York City’s budget as a compensation for this injustice.

Drilling down to the data, we can see that Beth Israel Medical Center and Harlem East Life Plan alone contribute to nearly 60% of the capacity. Elected officials should immediately discuss ways to reduce this capacity.

Beth Israel and Harlem East Life Plan represent 60% of the district's capacity

As for which district is not receiving its fair share of drug treatment capacities? Data speaks for itself

Manhattan is oversaturated with drug treatment capacities