We demand respect and care for San Franciscans who use drugs
SAN FRANCISCO, December 13, 2022–San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF) calls on the City of San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors, the City Attorney, and Mayor London Breed to prioritize the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs in San Francisco, and urgently move forward with plans to open community “Wellness Hubs” as outlined in the recently-released San Francisco Overdose Prevention Plan.
Along with other community-based organizations in San Francisco, SFAF has proposed a model for one of the “Wellness Hubs,” which would bring much-needed overdose prevention, health, and harm reduction services and resources to people who use drugs in our city. We are poised and ready to begin the critical work of expanding existing access to harm reduction and overdose prevention services. However, we have yet to receive a notice of agreement on a viable pathway forward. We urge the city to move this critical work forward.
“As one of the largest providers of health and harm reduction services for people who use drugs in San Francisco, we are deeply concerned for the wellbeing of our community members,” said Tyler TerMeer, PhD, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Recent moves to criminalize people who use drugs, shortages in the overdose reversal medication Narcan, and overall lack of urgency around fatal overdose are worsening the conditions faced by many of our community members. Clearly, much more is needed by the City in order to adequately respond.”
“More than 200 people are coming every day to the 6th Street Harm Reduction Center to access naloxone, safer use supplies, medical care, testing, and other services, and we have implemented three intentional outreach shifts per day at UN Plaza to provide linkage to care and warm handoffs to our 6th Street site following the closure of the Tenderloin Center,” said Ro Giuliano, senior director of PWUD health. “Although our 6th Street Harm Reduction Center is only a few blocks away from the former site of the Tenderloin Center, our location is small compared to the site at UN Plaza. It is clear that many more sites are needed to adequately support the communities of people who use drugs in San Francisco and these sites need to offer safe consumption services to stem the tide of overdose deaths.”
“San Francisco is on track to lose around 600 community members to fatal overdose this year,” said Laura Thomas, senior director of HIV and harm reduction policy. “We know that supervised consumption services are one way to reduce overdose deaths, but we need to fully invest in them as a city–and in other proven harm reduction strategies–in order to benefit. It’s clear we’re not doing enough for people who use drugs in San Francisco. They deserve dignity and respect and their lives are worth saving. We must do more.”
SFAF provides harm reduction and health services for people who use drugs at the 6th Street Harm Reduction Center, 117 6th Street between Minna and Mission. SFAF’s 6th Street Harm Reduction Center is now open Monday – Friday, 11 am – 7 pm. Mobile sites are also held Monday – Friday at various locations across San Francisco.