PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — TV personality Dr. Oz brought his show to Philadelphia, conducting on-site interviews at one of the most notorious drug corridors in the country, along Conrail tracks, stretching from the Fairhill section to Kensington. It’s known as “Camp Heroin.”
The half-mile stretch is a sea of used syringes, trash, and rickety shelters, from 2nd Street and Indiana Avenue to Kensington Avenue. One of the users who frequents the spot, Steven Johnson, says the drug epidemic has plagued that neighborhood for decades.
“You can look at that pile right there. One million, two million needles,” Johnson said. “That’s a lot of people getting high.”
Johnson shot up in front of the crew, even though he would prefer to be clean.
‘The more heroin you do, the more depressed you get, and the more you want,” he said. “It’s just never enough.”
Johnson says, “doing heroin is not a party. It’s a downward spiral. There’s nothing fun or exciting about this, at all.”
DEA Special Agent Gary Tuggle, in charge of the Philadelphia field division, walked the tracks with Dr. Oz and drug users.
‘This location is a microcosm of a much bigger problem,” Tuggle said. “And that’s what we’re here to focus on.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Columbia University professor, was cordial, and seemed willing to chat, but a company official put her hand over his mouth, and said he was precluded from doing any interviews with other media.
“We’re banned by the executive producers to talk to anybody,” Dr. Oz said. “Only because they want to control….” (company spokeswoman put her hand over his mouth)
Reporter: “It’s a shame you can’t spend a few seconds with us.”
“I promise you, when the show is ready to launch, I’ll talk to you,” Dr. Oz said.
Meantime, negotiations aren’t going well between the city and Conrail to clean up that stretch.
“I think we’re at a real impasse,” said City Managing Director Mike DiBerardinis. “It is around that corporation taking responsibility for their property, to not only clear it up, but to secure it.”
A Conrail spokeswoman says it’s “ready to resume productive good faith discussions with the city.”