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San Francisco mayor proposes location for city’s first supervised drug use site

Tenderloin
Oleplod
/
Flickr / Creative Commons
Businesses in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s new legislation allocates $6.3 million for the city to purchase an 8,000 square foot former Goodwill store in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood. If approved, it could house the state’s first safe consumption site, operated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Safe consumption sites offer a space for people with substance abuse issues to consume narcotics under the supervision of trained medical professionals. They also provide users with access to life-saving tools, such as clean needles, drug testing kits, and Narcan, an overdose-response medication.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Mayor Breed and newly-appointed City Attorney David Chiu are actively seeking approval from state and federal authorities on this issue. Safe consumption sites are currently illegal under state and federal law, leaving affiliates subject to fines, legal prosecution, and property seizure.

Breed’s legislation comes on the heels of a recent proposal by State Senator Scott Wiener for a statewide pilot program in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Senate Bill 57 is Wiener’s third legislative attempt to establish safe consumption sites in California since 2018.

The bill is set for review by the State Assembly Health Committee by early next year. But Wiener has stressed the need for immediate action. He said he would fully support the mayor if she were to proceed with opening the proposed site prior to formal state authorization.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported 2020-2021 as the deadliest year on record for drug overdoses.