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November 29, 2023



A Resident's Response

If Donald Trump taught us anything it is that you can lie to a impressionable populace and they will believe you just because you said so.

This is the case for the arguments for harm reduction and safe injection sites. They lie to convince us that the sites have no negative impact on our communities and only positive impacts on substance abusers.

Widely reported the week of November 13, 2023, a new study by Aaron Chalfin, PhD1; Brandon del Pozo, PhD, MPA, MA2; David Mitre-Becerril, PhD3 found “no significant changes were detected in violent crimes or property crimes”.

For those of us not paying attention, this news might seem to garner our support for these sites and contradicts what community groups like GHC, HNBA, and MMPCIA have been saying.

What it does is validate what the community groups have been saying – for the last 50+ years. Let’s look at the bold sentence above. 11 words. Let’s start with the word significant. Who defines what is significant? The study authors? Have they even been to the square block area between 125th street and 126th street between Park and Lexington. And what crimes fall under violent or property crimes? Is that misdemeanors, felonies?

There is a very simple reason there has not been a “significant” increase. For the last 50+ years the oversaturation of drug treatment, harm reduction and homeless shelters have elevated the crime in our neighborhood that would not exist without these facilities. The OnPoint location on 126th street was a needle exchange facility before evolving into injection site. Changing a needle exchange site to an injection site does not change the population of users and dealers that congregate, use, and sell. CRIME HASN’T GONE UP “SIGNIFICANTLY” BECAUSE IT IS ALREADY HIGH. Put that injection site on the UES and evaluate crime in the next year.

Why are we even talking about crime? We are talking about fair share. I don’t care if crime went to zero. Spread these sites around, and not just in predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods.

-- Maria G.


Casa Azul Joins The Greater Harlem Coalition

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Bistró Casa Azul is a premium Mexican restaurant located in East Harlem, New York, at 343 Pleasant Ave. They are a community-oriented family business with the fortune of doing what they love most; delighting people with exquisite elevated Mexican cuisine and incredible traditional recipes, crafted with their own unique twist.

Please welcome Bistró Casa Azul to The Greater Harlem Coalition.


NYT Reports on the Explosion of Open Air Drug Use After Legalization

Portland Oregon is a hyper liberal western city of 635,000. The city’s identity as a liberal bastion that prides itself on embracing transplants and accepting drug use has been severely shaken recently and detailed in a July New York Times article.

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When Oregon voters backed decriminalizing hard drugs a few years ago, this ballot measure turbocharged the city’s troubles when the city saw a concurrent, massive increase in the presence of fentanyl in the drug supply.

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In November 2020, the penalties for possessing small amounts of drugs like meth and opioids were sharply decreased. This bold step of decriminalizing the possession of “hard drugs” has meant that police in Oregon can only hand out a $100 ticket and a card listing a hotline for addiction treatment if they find someone using in public.

The ballot measure - known as Measure 110 - fueled more drug use by sending the false message that “all drugs are legal” according to Portland police.

In 2020, the year voters approved the measure, 69 people in Multnomah County fatally overdosed from synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl, according to the county health department.

Last year, such overdoses killed 209 people in the county, and the drug is smoked openly on Portland’s downtown streets.

Fifty times as powerful as heroin, fentanyl sets off a high that “human brains have never seen before,” said Dr. Andy Mendenhall, who runs Central City Concern, one of Portland’s largest nonprofit providers of mental health and homeless services, and “It makes it harder for folks to stay in recovery.” Fentanyl's use with other drugs, such as a synthetic form of meth, is also contributing to the increasingly volatile behavior on the streets.

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Ms. Burke, interviewed by the NYT, believes that Portland can recover but that it needs to adjust its attitudes toward homelessness.

“Some people respond to carrots, and some respond to sticks,” Ms. Burke said. “But we have used carrots here” and she said government officials needed to compel more homeless people into mental health and addiction services.

“A lot of people say, ‘How do we get the old Portland back?’” Ms. Burke said. “I think we need to look at the lessons learned from this time and to get to something else.”

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