Safe injection sites could soon be reality in San Francisco following Senate vote

The California State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow San Francisco to open safe injection sites under a three year pilot program.

The bill, authored by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman and co-authored by Senator Scott Wiener, is tailored to specifically allow The City to approve entities to operate overdose prevention programs for adults until January 1, 2022.

The State Assembly became the first legislative body across the country to pass such a bill last year. Following the senate’s vote, the bill will now move back to the Assembly for a final vote before it is sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

In light of an opioid crisis affecting the country, the bill aims to provide “a path for taking it on as the health crisis that it is,” said Eggman in a statement.

The sites must meet specific criteria, including providing a “hygienic space supervised by health care professionals…where people who use drugs can consume pre-obtained drugs, sterile consumption supplies, and access to referrals to substance use disorder treatment.”

There are currently no safe injection sites in the country, but the idea of piloting the program in San Francisco has met with local political support.

Mayor London Breed, who has advocated for the sites, said in a statement that they can “save lives by preventing overdoses and connecting people to life-saving services.”

Breed said that she is committed to opening a site in San Francisco at all costs, because “the status quo is not acceptable.”

Breed has announced plans to open a model safe injection site at the Tenderloin’s Glide Memorial Methodist Church at the end of the month in an effort to quell residents’ concerns about potential quality of life and safety issues.

“I understand the concern, but what I’m most concerned about are the complaints I get about needles on the streets,” Breed told members of the media on Friday. “We are talking about a needle exchange, medical services and treatment on demand, so the point is to try and change how we deal with this. Just because we don’t want to see it — people who sadly struggle with drug addiction — doesn’t mean that it’s just going to disappear.”

In locations where they are permitted, such as Vancouver in Canada, such sites have been proven effective in reducing overdose deaths, preventing the transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis, and reducing drug use and syringes on the streets, according to a statement released by Wiener’s office on Tuesday.

“People are injecting drugs whether or not we intervene,” said Wiener. “Safe injection sites provide people with an opportunity to inject in a clean, safe environment, with healthcare personnel available to prevent overdoses, and with an opportunity to offer people addiction, healthcare, housing, and other services.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

Laura Waxmann
Share
Published by
Laura Waxmann

Recent Posts

10 victims, including 3 teens, injured in series of stabbings in SF

A spate of stabbings in San Francisco has injured 10 people since Friday, including three teenagers stabbed during a fight…

3 hours ago

Klay Thompson’s late flurry, Kevin Durant triple-double not enough as Golden State Warriors fall in overtime to Los Angeles Clippers

By Jeffrey Dransfeldt Special to S.F. Examiner LOS ANGELES — Typically, a Klay Thompson second half explosion is a positive…

14 hours ago

Bedroom producer G FLIP hits with ‘About You’

In January 2017, Melbourne, Australia native Georgia Flipo’s mother and friends thought she was kidding when she said she would…

15 hours ago

Paradise High School football brought to tears by San Francisco 49ers invitation to Monday Night Football

By C.J. Peterson Special to S.F. Examiner SANTA CLARA, Calif. — On nearly a three-and-a-half hour bus ride en route…

17 hours ago

SF to spend $4M to rebuild ‘burned to the ground’ Golden Gate Park clubhouse

After a popular Golden Gate Park clubhouse was burned down, San Francisco plans to rebuild it for $4 million. Under…

17 hours ago

Jordan Ratinho rains threes as USF Dons basketball easily dispatches Sonoma State

When Charles Minlend went down with a torn right labrum in June of 2017, University of San Francisco head men's…

19 hours ago