Harm reduction

San Francisco’s whole-city plan to address fatal overdose

SFAF stands committed to addressing the overdose crisis by expanding our life-saving harm reduction programs and services in collaboration with City partners.

SAN FRANCISCO, September 29, 2022–San Francisco AIDS Foundation extends their thanks to Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health for their courageous and well-crafted plan to address and bring down the staggering number of fatal overdoses happening in San Francisco. As a partner in the City’s efforts to prevent and reverse overdose and improve the health and lives of people who use drugs, San Francisco AIDS Foundation stands committed to expanding our harm reduction and substance use support work with City partners in the coming years.  

“San Francisco needs to address the overwhelming overdose crisis happening in our city with compassionate care and comprehensive services for people who use drugs,” said Tyler TerMeer, PhD, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Over our forty years of history, San Francisco AIDS Foundation has prioritized services to improve the health and wellness of people who use drugs, in order to respond to the HIV epidemic and also as an issue of health justice. We are well-positioned to expand upon this harm reduction work, with innovative and evidence-based programs that save lives. We look forward to continuing this critical work, in collaboration with all of our City partners.” 

In 2021, a total of 625 San Franciscans died from overdoses involving opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The Overdose Plan aims to reduce fatal overdoses 15%, reduce racial disparities in fatal overdoses among Black residents by 30%, and increase the number of people receiving medications for addiction treatment (MAT) by 30%–all by 2025. 

To do this, the plan outlines goals to increase the availability and accessibility of harm reduction and substance use services, through new community “Wellness Hubs” providing overdose prevention resources and linkage to substance use treatment; by expanding access to drug checking and safe consumption services; by increasing access to substance use treatment programs; and by enhancing overdose response teams. The Overdose Plan also includes commitments to addressing inequities, strategies to increase overdose prevention coordination citywide, and goals around data collection and metrics. 

“It is clear that San Francisco must make further investments in harm reduction and overdose prevention services,” said Laura Thomas, MPH, Director of HIV and Harm Reduction Policy. “Now that the City has a comprehensive overdose prevention plan in place, we look forward to further collaboration between City and community-based partners, and ramping up our services and prevention resources for people who use drugs.” 

Read the entire San Francisco’s Overdose Prevention Plan