NYC parents rip de Blasio for drug injection site near daycare



The Big Apple’s new supervised injection site for drug addicts in East Harlem sits right across the street from a daycare for toddlers, leaving parents with new worries about safety in the already tough neighborhood.

The Echo Park Children and Family Center at 1841 Park Ave. sits directly across the street from the legalized shooting gallery at 104-106 East 126th St., which previously just provided needle exchange services.

As The Post reported this week the center is one of two that also allows addicts to use whatever illicit drug they should choose on premises — even smoking crack.

“They shouldn’t be so close to the school because kids come here. I worry about the safety of my child,” said Jorge Molina, a barber whose four-year-old daughter goes to the daycare. “They should not have it there.”

Tasha Cucuta, whose 3-year-old attends Echo Park, ripped city officials for opening the site there as she picked up her kids.

Exterior of The Echo Park Children and Family Center.
The Echo Park Children and Family Center sit directly across from the safe injection site.
Matthew McDermott

“Whatever you are going to do, you don’t put this kind of a center directly across the street from a pre-school. That makes no sense,” said the 44-year-old.

“It may be helping them not to overdose but when they come out high, we have to deal with them and it’s not something I want to subject my 3-year-old to.”

A recovered addict who lives in the neighborhood defended the program as one way to get drug addicts off the streets when they use.

“They are helping the addicts not to use drugs around the kids and everybody,” said Luis, who declined to give his last name.

Mayor Bill de Blasio
De Blasio announced earlier this week, with just weeks left in office, the opening of the new supervised injection sites.
AP / Richard Drew

The Post revealed Thursday that City Hall did an end-run around approvals it said were required from the state Department of Health just three years ago, and launched supervised drug injection services this week.

Officials now claim the needle exchange licenses held by the East Harlem location and the second spot, which is in Washington Heights, provide sufficient legal cover.

New York State law applies additional penalties to the sale of drugs near schools or childcare facilities, making them a Class B felony.

Asked about the concerns over having a legal shooting gallery so near a child daycare center, a de Blasio spokesman declined to answer the question and instead defended the operator.

Syringes and vials of Naloxone are shown during a media tour of the supervised drug injection site in New York.
Syringes and vials of Naloxone are shown during a media tour of the supervised drug injection site in New York.
AFP via Getty Images / Yuki Iwamura

“This organization has been providing lifesaving services in this neighborhood for decades,” said City Hall spokesman Mitch Schwartz. “Connecting people to services and care provides a real pathway out of this crisis – not repeating the same practices that got us here.”

The organization has been in the neighborhood previously as a needle exchange — not as a center that allows the use of illegal drugs on premises.


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