Real Reporting Foundation's blog

San Francisco Plans To Move Forward With Supervised Consumption Site In Spite Of Governor's Veto

Officials with the city of San Francisco have announced that they plan to move forward with establishing a supervised consumption site for people who use drugs in spite of the veto by Governor Gavin Newsom of Senate Bill 57, which would have granted permission to a few select municipalities to establish an overdose prevention center as a limited-time pilot project.

The New York Times reported on August 22, 2022 that "Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation on Monday that would have allowed some California cities to open supervised drug-injection sites as part of a pilot program meant to stem a rushing tide of fatal overdoses."

According to the Times:

"Supporters of the measure, including local elected officials, said that the synthetic opioid fentanyl was driving the worst overdose crisis in American history, one that has become closely entwined with California’s catastrophic housing emergency. They said the bill offered Mr. Newsom a chance to save thousands of lives while also saving taxpayers the cost of many ambulance rides and emergency room visits.

"The bill would have allowed the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, as well as Los Angeles County, to set up supervised injection facilities in communities that were already struggling with open drug use and frequent overdoses. At the centers, drug users would be offered supplies like clean needles, and could be connected with treatment services."

The San Francisco Standard reported on August 22, 2022 that:

"San Francisco plans to move forward in allowing a non-profit to open up a safe consumption site despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of a bill, Senate Bill 57, that would have legalized the sites at the state level.

"City Attorney David Chiu indicated in a statement to The Standard that the city plans to back a local non-profit in opening a safe consumption site, which are banned federally under the Controlled Substances Act."

The Standard also reported that "Mayor London Breed echoed those sentiments in a statement, writing that 'we know implementing overdose prevention programs is a key step in our efforts to help people struggling with addiction.'"

For more information see Drug Policy Facts: Supervised Consumption Sites.

International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31

According to The Penington Institute, "International Overdose Awareness Day was initiated in 2001 by Sally J Finn at The Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne."

"International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind." People around the world hold in-person and virtual events every year on August 31.

BioMed Central has an information resource about International Overdose Awareness Day that may be of interest.

Several IOAD events are listed at The Penington Institute website.

A number of IOAD events are listed at the Moms Stop The Harm website.

Some other #IOAD2022 event lists and/or announcements:

Overdose Awareness Day Memorial in Portland, Oregon, sponsored by Outside In.

Drug User Liberation Front

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

VOCAL New York

#IOAD #IOAD2022 #EndOverdose

New York City Opens First Legally Authorized Safe Consumption Sites In US

On November 30, 2021, the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York announced that "the first publicly recognized Overdose Prevention Center (OPC) services in the nation have commenced in New York City. OPCs are an extension of existing harm reduction services and will be co-located with previously established syringe service providers."

According to the release:
"OPCs, also referred to as supervised consumption sites or facilities, are safe places where people who use drugs can receive medical care and be connected to treatment and social services. OPC services are proven to prevent overdose deaths, and are in use in jurisdictions around the world. There has never been an overdose death in any OPC. A Health Department feasibility study found that OPCs in New York City would save up to 130 lives a year.

"Additionally, OPCs are a benefit to their surrounding communities, reducing public drug use and syringe litter. Other places with OPCs have not seen an increase in crime, even over many years.

"OPCs will be in communities based on health need and depth of program experience. A host of City agencies will run joint operations focused on addressing street conditions across the City, and we will include an increased focus on the areas surrounding the OPCs as they open."

Vancouver's Chief Medical Officer Endorses Compassion Clubs and Safe Supply

Efforts in Vancouver, BC to establish a peer-led compassion club for procuring and distributing a safe supply of drugs have gained the support of Vancouver's chief medical officer. The Tyee reported on October 21, 2021:

"Vancouver’s chief medical health officer says she fully supports an attempt to establish a compassion club model to provide tested heroin, cocaine and meth to users as tainted street drugs continue to kill around six people a day in British Columbia.

"Dr. Patricia Daly made the comments during an update on the poisoned drugs crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic to Vancouver city council today.

"While prescribed safe supply programs are in place for some drug users who are at the greatest risk of dying from an overdose, 'we cannot prescribe our way out of the overdose crisis,' she said.

"Last week, Vancouver’s mayor and councillors voted to support an application for an exemption from Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that would let a group called the Drug User Liberation Front procure and distribute tested drugs."

Earlier in October, the Vancouver City Council officially endorsed DULF's efforts to set up a compassion club. The Vancouver Sun reported on October 7, 2021:

"The City of Vancouver voted unanimously in favour of supporting a peer-led program that would help get a safe supply of drugs to individuals at high risk of overdose in the Downtown Eastside.

"Coun. Jean Swanson called for the approval of North America’s first compassion club that gives members access to prescription heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, in a council motion this week."

Drug User Liberation Front

Moms Stop The Harm

Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs