Lawmaker will host meeting on drug rehabs

State Rep. James Clay (D-179th dist.) will be conducting a town hall meeting on illegal recovery houses in Frankford from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, in the second-floor conference room of Aria Health’s Frankford campus, 4900 Frankford Ave.

Clay said he wants residents to report these illegal recovery houses to his office.

ldquo;Complaints have been coming in about specific houses, which have no legal sanction in Pennsylvania or Philadelphia law,” the lawmaker said in an Aug. 2 news release.

Legal drug-rehabilitation facilities have a strong presence on Frankford Avenue, too, Clay said during an Aug. 15 interview. Ironic, since the Avenue is notorious for illegal drug sales.

Clay said he saw no reason for addiction-treatment facilities to be located on a street known for the narcotics trade. Addicts can come to Frankford Avenue treatment centers and then score drugs on their way home, Clay said.

Members of the Frankford Civic Association long have griped about the proliferation of both legal and illegal facilities set up to either treat or house recovering addicts. Association members in 2009 maintained that such facilities, even if legally set up, are detrimental to the neighborhood, saying their presence discourages investment in the community.

Last summer, Penn Street residents successfully fought a plan to convert an apartment house into “transitional housing” for recovering addicts.

“Frankford has more drug facilities than anywhere else in the United States,” Pete Specos, the civic association’s president and zoning officer, said Aug. 15.

Clay aide Tim Savage pointed to the furor in Holmesburg about planned openings of methadone treatment facilities on Frankford Avenue and State Road. Drug treatment facilities are not new to Frankford, he said.

“We have all the same problems,” he said, “but we had them first.”

Illegal housing for addicts — those set up without proper city zoning or permits — are believed to be all over Frankford, Savage said.

“The managers of these properties are pilfering government subsidies from addicted persons who are said to be in recovery; but, instead of providing real treatment, many of these houses are allowing residents to continue to use, distribute and sell illicit narcotics,” Clay stated.

He said he hopes to identify illegal operations. Before the meeting, he stated, residents may report illegal recovery houses by calling his office at 215–518–6714. ••