Prop. F Offers New Tool to Address San Francisco Drug Overdose Crisis

Drug overdose deaths in San Francisco this year are on track to exceed last year’s record total of 813, which was up from the previous record of 726 in 2022. This spiraling death count is unacceptable and reflects both the complexity of the problem itself but also the failure of the response. The human tragedy of this epidemic is compounded by its impact on residents and businesses and the city’s reputation globally, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in limited public resources that are directed to address the problem annually. The drug epidemic is also closely tied to the city’s severe homelessness crisis. That’s why the Bay Area Council is endorsing Proposition F on the March 5 ballot, consistent with our top policy priorities of addressing public safety and homelessness.

Prop. F would require adults who receive cash assistance from the city to undergo screening and enroll in a free treatment program if they’re determined to be drug users. The welfare recipients would not be required to test negative for drugs but would need to actively participate in treatment. The purpose is to avoid enabling drug use while providing the services needed to overcome substance abuse. With an estimated half of all drug arrests in San Francisco people who come from outside the city, Prop. F would also discourage drug tourism

Council Senior Vice President Adrian Covert joined KPIX/CBS News Bay Area yesterday (watch the interview) to discuss the merits of Prop. F and the important role it can play in addressing this crisis. It is by no means a panacea and represents another tool in the fight to restore safety, normalcy and vitality to our streets and neighborhoods and make the city a welcoming place for everyone.

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