Along a half-mile gorge cut by a Conrail line that runs through
Kensington and Fairhill, tens of thousands of used syringes and
their tossed off orange caps cover the sloping ground like a
plague of locusts. The contaminated needles make conditions so
hazardous that even some police officers are reluctant to traverse
the embankments to get to dead overdose victims at the bottom.
The squalor and chaos along the rail line resembles a scene from
Hieronymus Bosch. Addicts - many with needle marks so fresh
that still-drying blood glistens in the sun - twist their bodies
into unnatural forms to crouch and teeter on the trash-covered
banks as they shoot up. Others sleep under nearby bridges or in
makeshift shelters surrounded by garbage, drugs, and death.