North Central Philadelphia: Philadelphia Recovery Community Center

Kicking an alcohol or drug addiction is hard beginning with where does an addict go for help when they decide they want help. There are psychologists and mental institutions that may be able to help an addict with their drug problems. However,  there aren’t many places like the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center. This community center, located at 1701 W. Lehigh Ave. (Unit 6) , is specifically geared toward helping people overcome their battles with drugs and alcohol.

The Philadelphia Recovery Community Center is a non-profit organization that has members who draw from their own experiences as recovering drug addicts and alcohol abusers to provide aide those in dire need of assistance.

Fred Martin, a former drug addict, is now the project coordinator for the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center.

The facility opened in early 2008. It is the first of its kind in the city of Philadelphia. There are no other recovery facilities in the city making this center even more important. People come from all over the Philadelphia region including folks from New Jersey and Delaware to receive help.

Volunteers come to the center as well to provide their input and to combat an affliction that once consumed them. Eric Muhammad, who was a drug abuser for decades, volunteers his time helping others straighten out their lives. “I’m a group facilitator and a recovery coach here at the recovery center,” Muhammad explains. “What I try to do is give them the inspiration through the skills that I’ve garnered over the years.”

This organization works with the City of Philadelphia, it’s Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services and the Pennsylvania Recovery Organization Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT) to offer its services. “The center itself provides a safe haven for a person to see hope,” says Fred Martin, the project coordinator at the facility.

When recovering from drug and alcohol addiction it’s easy to lose touch with how to function properly in society. Years and years of addiction can certainly have that effect, but this organization provides programs and services that help you get back on track. For example, creating or fixing your resume can become a difficult task after the recovery period. However, this organization helps members in fixing resumes and looking for jobs. Support groups, family education programs and life skills education are also an essential part of what the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center does for its recovering members.

Eric Muhammad dealt with his own issues for a very long time and is now giving back to those in need of the help.

According to Martin, the next closest recovery community center is located in the state of Connecticut, more than 100 miles away from Philadelphia.

When asked if many people in the neighborhood or the city knew about the facility, Marcus Anderson, a certified recovery specialist with the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center, said he wasn’t so sure. He said when he’s riding public transportation to and from work he makes an extra effort to get the word out to other commuters.

“Everything is word of mouth. As I’m going home, I catch public transportation,” Anderson explained. “You hear people talking about my daughter does this or my son does this. I give them my card and tell them, there’s a place on 17th and Lehigh that may be able to help solve your problems. It’s all word of mouth.”

This organization nearing four years of existence has an opportunity to make a big impact on the community due to its uniqueness and the numbers of people suffering with addiction.

Eric Muhammad, as previously mentioned, struggled with drug addiction for decades. He spoke about his drug ordeal candidly. “I used heroin from the time I was 19 till the time I was about 56, on and off,” he explained. “I used to tell myself if I can ever kick this habit, I’ll be free and easy.”

When seeking help for any kind of problem, it helps a lot more to be assisted by someone who has gone through the same problems you have. It’s not the exact formula for a successful recovery but the respect level is much greater when dealing with someone in that position. People who haven’t been in that position may talk and try to encourage someone as if it’s easy to get over the problems when, in all likelihood, they have no idea what it’s like to be in that position.

“Many people that come to the center, they never experienced a person in long-term recovery,” Fred Martin added. “With us being in that position, hopefully they’re inspired to make a change for the better.”


  1. I am very interested in the phila center, it’s history and current status, I just asumed responsibility for our site 2 mos ago, it is a secondary responsibility my first is managing TCAP, Alternative Sentencing clients. I would love to hear more about the develoment of ur center

  2. I commend all the people who are doing something to HELP their COMMUNITY & RECOVERY! I think this is a great idea, I would like to do something similar in Portland OREGON. We have so many sucess stories in Recovery that nobody gets to hear about? They only hear the bad stories. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SUPPORT folks who have worked hard to stay Clean & SOBER, GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

  3. sept 24 2011 was my first recovery walk,i have over 2 years,and real enjoy my day i was proud gratefull being addict,and going in a program and the room changed my life and gave me a future,better person mother grandmother sister,and true honest friends,i realy got a chances to see i am not alone i live in NEW JERSY/LONG BRANCH cann’t wait for the next one THANKFULLY it a we not me program

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