The entrance to Prevention Point, the only government-sanctioned syringe-exchange operation in the Philadelphia region, doesn’t look like much from the street: It’s a drab gray door down a set of steps from a drab alleyway, around the corner of a drab building on Lehigh Avenue in Kensington, along which flows a parade of people looking various shades of troubled.
But behind the door is a considerably brighter scene: The sparse hallway inside has been slathered in cheerful colors — blue, orange. A TV sits in the corner, surrounded by couches. Encouraging signs are everywhere, offering services, explaining health issues. A pot of hot coffee sits invitingly in the middle of it all. There is a lot of hand sanitizer.