SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin answered questions about the charge that people addicted to drugs specifically come to the city to use because they won’t be hassled in a live primetime interview with KRON4.

“The overdoses, and the fatal overdoses in San Francisco are devastating, and they’re rising all across the country,” Boudin said. “It’s not a problem limited to San Francisco. We need a more effective response to the drug crisis on our streets, and it has to start with a public health response. We need it to be easier to get help than it is to get high in San Francisco.”

Boudin was critical of Mayor London Breed’s emergency declaration in the Tenderloin that began late last year, saying that arrests and prosecutions alone couldn’t solve the drug crisis. He reiterated his position that the problem isn’t primarily a law enforcement one in Monday’s interview with KRON4’s Catherine Heenan.

“Law enforcement has limited tools,” Boudin said. “What I can do, primarily, is I can prosecute the drug dealers that police arrest. But in San Francisco right now police are making arrests, citywide, in about two drug sales cases a day.”

Boudin said that the war on drugs “has not worked,” and that there may be a place for prosecuting drug users, but only if there are law enforcement-assisted diversion programs to help them get sober.

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“Law enforcement can play a role in arresting users if the role is connecting them with services, but right now in San Francisco those services don’t exist,” Boudin said.