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'We Are Tired, We Are Fed Up': Harlem Residents Say Addiction Treatment Programs Are Saturating Neighborhood

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Harlem residents are complaining about more than a dozen addiction treatment programs saturating the community.

They say they're shouldering more than their fair share of the programs.

"Four o'clock in the morning, all you hear is 'yo! Ay, yo!'" Harlem resident Laurent Delly said. "And then you're waking up and you look by the windows, all you see is individuals injecting needles to their veins."

A decades-old program is becoming a constant nightmare for these Harlem residents.

They believe there are too many opioid treatment programs near their block on 125th Street, plaguing it with drug deals and drug users at all hours of the day.

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"To see someone shooting dope and not caring who is around... That's a hard pill to swallow," Harlem resident Sherzon Green told CBS2's Cory James.

And hard for Green to understand.

She says crime is growing in her community of almost 30 years and that it has become a dumping ground for addicts.

"What about the other communities? What about in the 70s? What about on 86th Street, 96th Street? Why do they always bring them to our community?" Green said.

Syderia Asberry-Chresfield is co-founder of the Greater Harlem Coalition.

The group filed an open records request for state data and learned the addiction rate for Harlem residents is close to 7%.

However, organizers say the neighborhood has a little more than 19% of opioid treatment programs in the city.

"We see that always in Black and brown neighborhoods," Asberry-Chresfield said. "There should be some sort of supervision. Someone should be able to say, is this community already overburdened?"

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Mayor Bill de Blasio's office did not accept CBS2's request for an interview, saying, "Lifesaving treatments should be available to all New Yorkers, regardless of their zip code."

It's an upsetting response for these neighbors, who are losing sleep and patience.

"It's terribly frustrating," Asberry-Chresfield said.

"It's way too much," Green said.

"We are tired. We are fed up, and we need help now," Delly said.

Help not just for them, but also for those in recovery, who are walking through the very things they are trying to get away from.


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