Legislators announce bill to regulate narcotics treatment facilities

As Holmesburg awaits a Zoning Board decision on a proposed methadone clinic, legislators and neighborhood leaders gathered today on Frankford Avenue to announce their plans for the regulation of narcotics treatment facilities.

Championed by Rep. Kevin Boyle and Sen. Mike Stack, an amendment to a 1972 act would require more scrutiny of proposed narcotics programs like the one slated for the 7900-block of Frankford Avenue.

“The proposed facility in my district would have a significant impact on the neighborhood. Many community leaders and residents have come together to fight against the proposed clinic,” Boyle said. “This legislation would provide the tools necessary to fight back against such a situation happening elsewhere in Philadelphia and across the state.”

Boyle and Stack along with U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, have vowed to keep the clinic from opening along the avenue, though no law currently exists to keep it out.

“Our constituents of Mayfair and Holmesburg and any other residential neighborhood for that matter do not want this in their backyard. It belongs in a hospital facility setting.”

The legislation proposed today would require the state Department of Health and municipal district attorney to approve applications for narcotics treatment programs. Additionally, clinic applicants must have adequate parking at the site, notify federal, state and local governments of their plans within five days of applying, disclose who they are and where they plan to operate, and participate in at least one public hearing about the proposed facility.

“The community has legitimate concerns with the Healing Way, including its proximity to an elementary school, daycare and church and the lack of parking. They were most concerned, however, that the Healing Way did not reveal its true intensions,” Stack said. “The community should have direct input. Our legislation accomplishes that.”

Residents and nearby businesses claim they were told Healing Way was opening a doctor’s office or medical facility, not a methadone treatment center. They claim there was insufficient notice to file a petition opposing it to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

House Bill 1885 and Senate Bill 1277 amend the 1972 Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act.

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