SAN FRANCISCO – The city of San Francisco is pursuing a policy of allowing safe consumption sites to address the problem of drug overdoses and open use on city streets.
The London Breed Mayor’s Office confirmed on Tuesday that the first such facility in San Francisco, where drug use would be supervised, could open as early as spring 2022 in the Tenderloin District.
Mayor Breed was unavailable for comment. However, a representative from his office told KTVU that the cost of a proposed site at the corner of Geary Boulevard and Hyde Street is $ 6.3 million.
The city gave an address of 822 Geary Blvd. On Google Maps, this address indicates a recently closed Goodwill store. The space is an 8,875 square foot building and an adjacent 2,186 vacant lot, which is including parking at this time.
The source of funding comes from Proposal C and has already been allocated to the city’s Department of Public Health for behavioral health uses.
In 2018, the city’s voters passed Prop. C, a gross revenue tax measure for homeless services. Almost $ 300 million of that money was frozen in court, before being released about two years later.
The City is looking to partner with non-profit organizations to operate these sites and identify other potential locations.
The city had been fond of the idea of safe injection and consumption sites for some time. And while these facilities are not legally licensed by the state or the federal government, they have gained support from State Senator Scott Wiener. Wiener was behind repeated efforts to legalize supervised injection sites as part of a pilot program. Meanwhile, this legislation is awaiting action from lawmakers in states that have not passed the bill.
On Tuesday, Mayor Breed introduced his own legislation to the supervisory board to authorize the purchase of the site for behavioral health needs. The city has already approved legislation to allow safe consumption sites.
“In addition to board approval, we will consider other steps before deciding to open a safe consumption site on part of this property, including contacting the appropriate federal and state government authorities,” he said. said Andy Lynch, spokesperson for the mayor’s office.
According to drugpolicy.org, a source cited in a blog from the Department of Nursing at the University of Southern California, drugs in institutions are pre-obtained and consumed under the supervision of trained personnel. In addition, the supplies are sterile and the facility not only provides a safe environment for those who consume, but also allows activity to be taken off the streets.
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The facilities would also ensure case management and access to medical care.
The opioid and fentanyl epidemic has ravaged the city, with deadly drug overdoses eclipsing COVID deaths in recent years.
The mayor’s office said the city will continue to push for other innovative solutions such as street overdose response teams and the SOMA Rise Sobering center to tackle the ongoing opioid epidemic.