Philly unveils new plan to address opioid crisis

An immediate goal includes clearing the Frankford Avenue encampment by Nov. 16.

Pat Loeb
October 18, 2018 - 10:30 pm
Aug 21, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of the William Penn statue atop City Hall during the 2017 partial solar eclipse in Philadelphia, PA.

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney unveiled a new plan to address the opioid epidemic two weeks after declaring a disaster in Kensington. 

He revealed the plan at the Emergency Operations Center, which the city uses to respond to snow storms and major events, to underscore that he is taking a new direction to address the squalor and danger that has grown around open drug use in Kensington.

"It's an effort we're calling the Philadelphia Resilience Project, because Philadelphians have proven time and time again that we're resilient and there's nothing we can't overcome," Kenney said. 

The problem has festered despite millions spent on outreach, rehab, shelter beds and overdose treatment. Those efforts, by several departments, will now be run through a central chain of command, with weekly progress reports posted online.

The city set out a list of actions it will take along with deadlines.

There are immediate goals that include clearing the Frankford Avenue encampment by Nov. 16, short term goals such as expanding medically assisted treatment, and long term goals that include closing all the encampments.

Councilman Mark Squilla represents part of the area but says the problem is much larger.

"Kensington is the epicenter of this, but this is a city wide problem and we need to look at how the city can learn from this," he said.