San Francisco Mayor London Breed generated national news media coverage last December when she announced a sweeping crackdown on open air drug use and drug dealing in the downtown Tenderloin neighborhood. Shortly after, she announced a “linkage center” aimed at connecting homeless street addicts with drug rehab facilities. Breed’s announcement came in the midst of a local, state, and national debate over whether the city should open a “supervised drug consumption” site as a tactic for reducing drug overdose deaths.
In fact, the illicit drug consumption site has been up and running since Tuesday inside the linkage center, which is located at 1172 Market Street. The linkage center is located in the United Nations Plaza, the city’s largest open air drug market. The supervised drug consumption area is an outdoor fenced section of the linkage center.
There is an on-going national debate over the efficacy of supervised drug consumption sites, which are prohibited by state and federal laws, and a continuing local debate over whether and where to open one in San Francisco. Mayor Breed and members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have advocated a supervised drug consumption site, and purchased two properties in the Tenderloin to serve people suffering from addiction. But the city never approved the creation of a supervised consumption site at the linkage center and the site is in violation of state and federal laws.
We are the first to report on the operation of the illegal supervised drug consumption site at the linkage center. The two of us witnessed a half-dozen people smoking fentanyl in an outdoor area on the site, and two people passed out at a table. An employee of a city contractor at the linkage center told us that two people had overdosed and been revived since the site opened on Tuesday.
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