SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A San Francisco anti open-air drug market activist started using his cellphone camera to highlight the city’s drug problem. Now he is going inside City Hall, placing a bid for a seat on the reentry council.
This is how it started for Ricci Wynne, using social media to highlight San Francisco’s open air drug market. Recently putting in his bid for one of the subcommittee seats on the San Francisco reentry council which coordinates local efforts to support justice-involved and formerly incarcerated people.
Wynne tells KRON4, “I am also trying to not only hold my fellow ex-criminals accountable, and trying to get them on the right path, I also want to hold some of the policy makers accountable.”
Wynne says that just last year he was being charged as a career criminal and thought he would be spending a decade in prison. He says a judge gave him a break, offering the former drug dealer and recovering addict an opportunity to get clean, and he took it.
Wynne says, “I want to prove to him and everybody else that reform is possible if you stay sober.” It is encouraging drug addicts towards abstinence based treatment that he would like to see as the official policy in his hometown of San Francisco.
Wynne told KRON4, “recovery happens when you get clean. you cannot meet these people where they’re at, and give them crystal meth pipes, needles, tin foil and straws, like the department of health does at their harm reduction tents, and expect them to listen or intake any of the information that you’re giving them, when they are inebriated off of some type of substance.”
However, harm reduction has been an official public health policy in San Francisco for over 20 years. advocates believe there is more than one way to sobriety
Sara Shortt with Treatment on Demand Coalition tells KRON4, “what harm reduction does, is at it sounds, kind of recognizing the reality that for some people, they’re going to use, and they may use until they eventually stop using substances or they may start to use less over time. Whatever it is, you want to make sure that they’re using it in the safest way possible. In a way that causes the least harm to themselves and others.”
Some of San Francisco’s top public officials are on the reentry council. Including the DA, public defender and chief of police. Currently there are four open seats for formerly incarcerated representatives on one of the council’s subcommittees.
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The Board of Supervisors vote on the final appointments. Wynne says, “politics always plays a role in everything I feel like in San Francisco. I am hoping that they will at least consider me.”