Rep. Espaillat says Harlem being overrun by methadone clinics, calls for even NYC distribution

Rep. Espaillat slammed the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, saying they deal in deception and don’t engage communities.

Ashley Mastronardi

Apr 15, 2024, 11:17 PM

Updated 44 days ago

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Methadone clinics have become a more common sight in New York City, particularly in Harlem, where one lawmaker says his district is being overrun. Now, he is calling for balance.
“This is not NIMBY, we’ll take our fair share of the programs, for people that live right here in Harlem, but we’re not going to take 13 programs and 5,800 people to come in from the entire city of New York,” Rep. Adriano Espaillat told the crowd at a recent press conference.
He called for a more even distribution of treatment facilities throughout the five boroughs. Syderia Asberry-Chresfield from the Greater Harlem Coalition also spoke out against the high saturation of clinics.
“Over 75% attending these facilities do not live in Harlem. Instead, they’re strategically placed here so that wealthier and whiter neighborhoods can avoid hosting them. Addiction is not a Black or brown problem, nor is it a Harlem problem – it's a crisis,” she said. 
Espaillat slammed the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, saying they deal in deception and don’t engage communities.
OASAS responded in a statement to News 12:   
“Harlem has among the highest overdose rates of any neighborhood in New York City, and these facilities serve an important role in ensuring that residents of that area are easily able to access the services they need...It is also important to note that there is a large concentration of hospital facilities in Harlem that provide comprehensive health care, including services for those affected by addiction.” 
Espaillat and local advocates are fighting for a solution.  “We’ve asked the state to start moving the programs to other districts...and that they should do an analysis and figure out where in other neighborhoods these clinics should go so people get the services they deserve,” he told News 12.  Community board members say legislation has been introduced in the Assembly, but it keeps getting shot down because other lawmakers don’t want methadone clinics in their areas. 


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