Bay Area mother protests open-air drug dealing

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – About 50 people have died from an accidental overdose since the start of this year in San Francisco.

Last year, the drug epidemic killed more people than COVID-19 in the city.

A mother in the East Bay says she’s worried that her son will be the next victim — unless he gets desperately needed help.

“My son’s rock bottom I know is death right now and I’m not willing, I am not willing to let him go there,” Jacqui Berlinn said.

Livermore mother Jacqui Berlinn marched through San Francisco streets to protest open-air drug dealing, which she says could kill her son Corey.   

“He can overdose and die and that’s my biggest fear right now so I feel a great need to get him off the streets and get him into treatment as soon as possible because his next hit could be the last time,” Berlinn said.

For many last year, it was the last time. 

In 2020, the San Francisco chief medical examiner reports drugs killed more than COVID — 712 people died from an accidental overdose.

An overwhelming majority were white men between 35 and 64 years old in the Tenderloin District overseen by Supervisor Matt Haney.

“What too often happens is that they’re cycled in and back out on the street without care. I’ve proposed a number of laws including working with the fire department to make sure that we do intervene, that we do have a team to respond when they do, overdose, and try to stop it from happening again, and get them into care and treatment, or expanding the number of treatment beds by the hundreds as a result of Health SF,” Haney said. 

Berlinn says her 31-year-old son got hooked on heroin and in the last year has deteriorated significantly because of fentanyl.

It would take forcing him into an affordable rehab if there’s space available and as the law stands today he would need to make that decision himself which he like the many who are severely addicted is incapable of doing.

“Fentanyl doesn’t work like that in order to get help he’s going to need professional help and some drugs to help him detox he’s not just going to walk in and say I want a bed, I want to get healthy he needs to be compelled to do that,” Berlinn said.

Since January of this year, 262 more people have been killed, 182 of them by fentanyl.

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