After Mayor London Breed’s proposal earlier in the month, some are afraid that it will criminalize homeless addicts and drug users in San Francisco, the leaders of San Francisco approved Friday an emergency plan to fight drug use.
After a long meeting that ended shortly after midnight on Friday, the Board of Supervisors voted 8-2. Shamann Walton, the Board President, and Dean Preston, the Supervisor, disapproved, arguing that possible over-policing could have an impact on African Americans, amongst other issues.
Matt Haney, the supervisor representing the neighborhood before the vote, said, “I know this is an extremely painful, traumatizing, and emotional conversation.”
This declaration allows the Department of Emergency Management of the city to bypass certain bureaucratic hurdles in order to establish a temporary center that can provide counseling and drug treatment.
Tenderloin, which includes City Hall, has been plagued by crime and open-air drug use and dealing. Although the order doesn’t call for increased police presence in the area, Chief Bill Scott stated that officers can’t ignore the problems in the neighborhood. Parents have told their children not to go outside, and drug addicts are freely injected in public.
Scott stated, “We’re there to help.” “We are not there to ignore people who kill themselves on the streets,” Scott said. Breed stated this in a threat via social media: “When someone is openly consuming drugs on the streets, we’re going give them the choice of accessing the services and treatment that we’re offering.” We won’t allow them to continue to use on the streets if they refuse. Better for the families of the neighborhood.
Since 2018, the number of deaths due to overdoses in San Francisco has increased by more than 200%. According to the emergency proclamation, over 700 people died in San Francisco last year from drug overdoses. This is more than the COVID-19 deaths. Breed stated earlier this month that nearly 600 people died this year from drug overdoses.
According to the proclamation, nearly half of all deaths took place in the Tenderloin or South of Market areas. These areas account for 7% of the city’s total population.
Breed, visibly upset, announced her declaration. She said that the city should be less tolerant of bull—s that have destroyed our city.” At a news conference this week, Chesa Boudin, District Attorney, and Mano Raju the Public Defender both condemned the plan.
Boudin, who is currently facing a recall campaign, said that arrests and trials alone would solve the drug crisis in this country. “We have spent over a trillion dollars fighting the so-called war against drugs. And where has it taken us?”
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