On ‘Radio Times’: Who populates Kensington’s ‘heroin encampment?’

Heroin needles and trash litter the ground Conrail's railroad tracks in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Heroin needles and trash litter the ground Conrail's railroad tracks in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia (Emma Lee/WHYY)

As America’s opioid crisis continues to grow, so does the urgency to alleviate the devastating aspects of excessive and risky drug use and getting help for people with addiction. In North Philadelphia, the growing need for solutions is made visceral by the heroin encampment along the Conrail tracks in Kensington and Fairhill that has become home to hundreds.

On Wednesday’s Radio Times, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Newell, among others, joined guest host Mary Cummings-Jordan.

During the conversation, Newell described the different kinds of people who populate the encampment. He told Cummings-Jordan, “You meet people in that neighborhood who have been suffering long before the media attention, long before it became a thing that affects white people everywhere else.” Newall said you also see kids from Bucks County, called the “County Kids,” who “come here, get off the El, and sometimes, don’t leave.”

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez was also a part of the discussion, and said “we can’t arrest our way out of this problem.”

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