San Francisco Leaders Announce New Efforts to Curb Opioid Overdose Epidemic

October 4, 2022

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Source: NBC Bay Area, by Sergio Quintana

As the opioid overdose epidemic continues to spread across the state, a new bipartisan legislative committee is coming together to look for a solution.

This is forming just as San Francisco leaders announced two new efforts to curb the city’s spike in drug-related deaths.

“In San Francisco we’ve seen a tripling of deaths that are connected to opioid overdoses in just the last four years,” said Assemblyman Matt Haney.

He’s leading a newly-formed special legislative committee that will draw on state resources and experts.

“The goal of this committee is to really develop state solutions, legislative solutions, and a statewide plan to respond to this opioid epidemic,” said Haney.

But it comes just a week after Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would allow San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles to organize safe injection sites to help manage overdoses.

The governor said the controversial sites could create unintended consequences, but San Francisco leaders said they’re pushing forward.

This week, the mayor and Department of Public Health announced a new effort to reduce overdoses by 15% over the next three years. But, at least one of the strategies has already raised concerns.

San Francisco’s drop-in wellness center in the Tenderloin at one point attracted protestors who called it a city-run safe injection site.

The center is now closed, but according to the San Francisco Department of Health, there are plans to open three other sites in different neighborhoods.

The city’s announcement reads in part:

“These wellness hubs will include the effective elements learned from the tenderloin center in new, community-centered locations across San Francisco.”

Meanwhile, Interim District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said her office plans to crack down on dealers.

“It is an illegal drug, and it could cause death and if we find that they have sold a pill or a substance that causes death, they could in the future be charged with murder,” said Jenkins.

The DA admits it will be a challenge to link a specific death to a particular dealer, but she wants dealers to know of the potential consequences.

 

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