Around 1,200 people died of opioid overdoses in Philadelphia in 2017, and a new center at 1500 S. Columbus Blvd., is now open to treat opioid addiction with buprenorphine or Suboxone. CleanSlate has a network of outpatient clinics, which received accolades from PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s office in 2015. Their clinics are open to treat many forms of addiction, and with the approach that addiction is a disease– not a choice.
The clinic’s opening attracted government officials and speakers with powerful messages.
Documenting the ribbon cutting at this important center was a moving experience. The vibe of the opening was definitely one of knowing how needed this resource and treatment is in this city. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has made several speeches and introduced initiatives to try and curb the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia. His speech had familiar notes of how the opioid epidemic is such a significant and impactful problem for the people of Philadelphia. Having a variety of treatment centers of available with personnel specializing in addiction is more important than ever.
Mental health and addiction treatment advocate Patrick J. Kennedy attended the opening. His addiction led to his departure from politics in the early 2000s. Now, proudly sober, he serves as a spokesperson for bringing more resources to the areas that need them.
“Every single day that a person is out there using opiates in the throes of their addiction – it could be their last day,” Kennedy said.
This new clinic feels cosy and welcoming. We noticed and appreciated the touches like an Eagles flag hanging from a window, photos of the Philadelphia skyline and a special waiting room for children to provide a more inviting space for kids who need to come to the clinic with family members.
Most people seem to at least know someone who knows someone whose close friend or relative struggled with opioid addiction. This isn’t an issue that only affects a certain population. Neighborhoods and more far reaching communities are impacted immensely. Even those who try and shut their eyes to recognizing this problem witness the effects it has.
Photos taken by Chloe Elmer.