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Delay in safe consumption site legislation will cost lives

In the midst of an overdose crisis, legislation that would allow San Francisco to establish safe consumption sites has been delayed until January, 2022.

SAN FRANCISCO, July 6, 2021—San Francisco AIDS Foundation expresses deep concern and outrage over another delay of the safe consumption site bill (Senate Bill 57) in the state legislature. The bill, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by San Francisco AIDS Foundation, was passed by the Senate in April 2021 but will not be heard in the Assembly Health Committee until January, 2022. 

“Delays in establishing safe consumption sites will cost lives,” said Laura Thomas, director of harm reduction policy. “In San Francisco, and nationwide, the number of people who fatally overdose continues to rise. Last year, we lost over 700 people to drug overdose, more than twice as many people who died of COVID-19. 

“Overdose is a public health emergency and must be addressed as one. This is in spite of the extensive overdose prevention support currently availablelast year, our team distributed 36,710 doses of naloxone, with nearly 4,000 overdose reversals reported. We urge legislators to prioritize new solutions that will help us turn the tide on overdose. We can’t afford to leave any options on the table now.”

“Although we eagerly await the state moving this bill forward in 2022, we can’t delay in our efforts to implement programs and support for people who use drugslives depend on it,” said Kevin Rogers, interim CEO. “This work is integral to the strategic plan of our organization, and we are ready to take bold action in order to ensure health justice for all of our communitiesespecially those who use substances and may be at risk for overdose.” 

In a statement, Senator Wiener said that although he is disappointed by the delay, he is optimistic that SB 57 will be passed and signed into law next year. 

If passed, SB 57 would authorize San Francisco, L.A., and Oakland to pilot safe consumption sites where people who use drugs could consume pre-obtained drugs, obtain sterile consumption and overdose prevention supplies, and receive a variety of social and health services. Safe consumption sites (also known as supervised consumption services, safe injection facilities, and overdose prevention programs), are an evidence-based strategy proven to reduce overdose deaths, improve the health of people who use drugs, reduce public drug use, reduce infectious disease, and improve linkage to drug treatment. 

Have questions about supervised consumption services? Get some key info, here. 

Already on board with these services? Sign the petition to urge state leaders to implement SCS in San Francisco

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About San Francisco AIDS Foundation

San Francisco AIDS Foundation promotes health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV, through sexual health and substance use services, advocacy, and community partnerships. Founded in 1982, SFAF envisions a future where health justice is achieved for all people living with or at risk for HIV, ultimately striving for a day when race is not a barrier to health and wellness, substance use is not stigmatized, HIV status does not determine quality of life, and HIV transmission is eliminated. Each year more than 25,000 people rely on SFAF programs and services and millions more find advocacy tools and information they need online at sfaf.org.