Philadelphia is considering embarking on a controversial plan to become the first city in the nation where drug users can shoot up under supervision. A for-profit company would allow intravenous drug users to shoot up in their location where they could get help from treatment centers, social services clinics and wound care facilities along with getting clean needles and Naloxone. While the plan does not need city approval, some city council members have started supporting the plan because Philadelphia has one of the highest overdose rates in the United States. The safe-injection zones may soon become operational.
On January 23, 2018, the Philadelphia city council announced support for the plan despite the fact that neither city permission or special zoning will be required. The federal government still has the option to step in and prevent investors from opening a site. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that police could not invade the site catching people with illegal drugs. In fact, Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez who has a large drug problem in her district says that more information is needed before any site could be opened.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says that he has no plans to persecute anyone who would invest or work in a safe-injection site. He says that he believes that the good that people working in these locations could do far outweigh the bad allowing the law to look the other way. He says that these sites would be designed to save lives.
One group who would be very interested in operating such a site would be Prevention Point Philadelphia. Advocates with the group say that concerned citizens in Philadelphia must stop looking the other way when four to five people a day are dying from drug overdoses in the city.
Homeless people in Philadelphia are getting free haircuts thanks to generous stylists. Philadelphia barber Brennan Jones says he will cut as many homeless people’s hair as he can in 2017. Jones, who relocated to West Philadelphia from Chester in 2016, says he was inspired to give back to homeless people by providing something besides spare change.
Jones created a #Haircuts4TheHomeless social media campaign in 2016 and raised funds for his haircutting project through crowdsourcing. He raised $2,755 through his GoFundMe campaign, through which he had a goal of raising $1,000. Jones uses the donations to provide haircuts, a light lunch, and toiletries to the homeless people of Philadelphia. When he sees someone on the streets who looks like they could use a haircut, Jones offers.
Jones’ idea has sparked other Philadelphia hairstylists to give free haircuts to homeless people on the streets. On his crowdfunding page, he encourages people to donate their time as well as their money. There are a lot of people on the streets of Philadelphia and around the globe who are passed by and ignored every day.
Another Philadelphia stylist, Lolly Galvin, also gives haircuts to people on the streets through her project Philly Street Cuts. Galvin says that by cutting people’s hair on the streets where everybody typically walks by and ignores homeless people, she wants to demonstrate that a small act of humanity can change a person’s life in a simple way.
A simple act of giving a homeless person a haircut can help that person feel more dignity and pride. Research also shows that people are more likely to give a job to a homeless person who is well-groomed. If a haircut can help get someone off the streets, then cities everywhere can benefit from stylists who are willing to give free haircuts to the homeless.