Operators of The Healing Way won their battle in state court and plan to open in a few weeks at 7900 Frankford Ave. The owners invited elected officials, selected business neighbors and the Philadelphia Police Department to an ‘open house’ on Monday morning. Few actually attended.
“The meeting was called due to the fact that [we] always said we would open [our] doors,” said a spokesman for the ownership group who preferred to not have his name published. “Other methadone clinics do not open their doors.”
The Philadelphia Police Department’s Northeast Detective’s Captain, Shawn Trush, attended.
“We came to check out the security and surveillance system,” said Trush. “We also want to coordinate with them in case something happens.
The Healing Way group wanted input from the police.
“We showed them the facility and they were pleased,” the spokesman said. “They told us what they think will happen…based on their experience with other clinics.”
Neighbors who gathered outside the facility still saw problems though.
“There is another one on State [Road],” said Carlos Lopez, who lives down the street and had parked his vehicle next to the facility. “When you get on the bus, all you see are drug addicts falling off their seats…discussing how to stay high even longer.”
Lopez said someone attacked his wife on their property last weekend.
“I’m actually thinking about moving out of the neighborhood,” Lopez said. “The craziest thing is I actually like it here.”
His wife, Carmen Lopez, detailed the attack.
“To come out on to my porch and I’m stabbed by somebody who you can clearly tell was high,” Lopez said. “I could have been killed.”
The Healing Way does not believe they will have the problems other clinics seem to have.
“It’s not going to be run like other methadone clinics,” the spokesman said. “The owners are not involved in other clinics. We are going to have security inside and out. There won’t be any loitering.”
No elected officials showed up for the meeting. The Healing Way claims no one even responded.
According to a spokesman for Councilman Bobby Henon’s office, a response was issued and signed by several local elected representatives.
It read, in part: “Once The Healing Way does open for business, its operators should understand that it is doing business in a community fiercely intent on protecting its schools, its children, its businesses and its way of life.”
Dee Adcock, the Republican nominee for Congress for that district, showed up despite not being invited. After identifying himself, The Healing Way brought him in. He is concerned about the impact on the local business corridor.
“Small businesses are key to getting our economy going again,” Adcock said. “This is not going to help anybody. It’s going to hurt the daycare school across street. It’s a sad day.”
Some neighbors were disappointed the meeting did not include the community at-large.
“It’s the first open house I ever encountered with body guards at the door,” said Milt Martelack, a community activist.
The Healing Way representatives felt the meeting was productive anyway.
“We’ll take the best out of this meeting,” the spokesman said. “We are hoping the neighbors will work with us and not against us.”
– Text and images by Bob Stewart and Jeff Neiburg