Looking at the heroin epidemic from Levittown halfway houses


A widespread heroin issue has led to dozens of overdoses and scores of arrests in the area, all in just the past week or two.

FOX 29's Hank Flynn went up to Levittown, where there's an entire market based simply on recovery, in the form of halfway houses, to see how the epidemic looks from there.

Here's #HanksTake:

I met two young women Wednesday night in Levittown. Both are recovering heroin addicts.  As you can probably guess, recovery is a process.

"You just gotta take it a day at a time. I mean you hear that every day, and it gets annoying, but it's the truth," a young woman named Kelly explained.

"Yeah, I came to Levittown for the recovery.  It's a strong recovery.  But like she said, it's a struggle every day," a second woman by the name of Georgia added.

Levittown has scores of recovery houses, and halfway houses for recovering addicts. In addition, there are many more in Bristol and other neighboring towns.  They're unregulated, and they vary in quality.  Some of them get complaints from neighbors, but the one where the girls stay gets better reviews.

"As far as the homeowner is concerned, he's a scumbag.  And you can edit that if you want. The girls themselves? They're not bad girls. I would stick up for them," a neighbor said.

Heroin's been having a field day, in the cities and suburbs alike.  Despite arrests like the massive takedown Philly Police announced yesterday, the supply seems to be unshakeable, and the drug has never been so cheap. 

The Levittown/Fairless Hills Rescue Squad keeps a running tally of overdoses and deaths on the sign out front, and Chief Joel Rutkowski says maybe instead of supply, we should look at demand.

"We've had so many great, high-volume arrests for drug deals and things like that. But what does that mean when there's somebody ready to roll into their place anyway? It does nothing towards what the actual problem is, and that's people using the drugs," Chief Rutowski explained.

Kelly and Georgia are working on eliminating their demand, and they say it's incredibly tough, but they're doing it.

So heroin, it's just as real a disease in our world as cancer is, and while many of the people in Levittown halfway houses are from elsewhere, the fact that there are a hundred or so in the area should tell you all you need to know about how widespread it is.


 So get used to the conversation, it ain't going anywhere.  

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