SF launches 1st sober, abstinence-based program to help those on path to recovery

Bay Area

Photo: Supervisor Ahsha Safai

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco has launched an abstinence-based pilot program for adults in the justice system.

On Thursday, Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, and Chief Adult Probation Officer Karen Fletcher celebrated the opening of the Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention (TRP) Academy.

It will serve as an alternative sentencing method for those looking for a ‘highly structured environment which will include substance use counseling, career and leadership development, and transitional housing for 86 formerly incarcerated individuals.”

The Adult Probation Department and Positive Direction Equals Change have partnered together to operate the “peer-led, therapeutic teaching community and transitional housing program.”

“Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to work on innovative, community-led solutions to the mental health and substance use crises we see on our streets, and today is a celebration of that work,” said Mayor Breed. “We know it will take all hands on deck to connect people struggling with these issues to the resources and treatment they need, and it brings me much joy to know that starting today, 86 of those individuals will be receiving immediate care.”

This program will allow individuals to take part in the six-month Therapeutic Teaching Community giving them:

  • Life skills
  • Coping mechanisms for abstinence from drugs
  • Leadership development
  • Vocational and career training

When individuals have completed the program, they will be qualified for transitional housing for up to two years at the 630 Geary Boulevard location. Case managers, peer wellness and support, permanent housing and banking programs will also be accessible to them.

Those eligible will also be able to work with the Adult Probation Department and the City’s Coordinated Entry system in order to find housing long-term.

“We are excited to see a residential therapeutic community open today that will give people with drug addictions alternatives to going to prison,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí. “An abstinence drug-free environment that is peer-led has been missing in San Francisco and what better way than to have former addicts leading current ones to turn their lives around in a true community environment. The failed crime policies of the ’80s and ’90s have shown us that we can’t incarcerate our way out of this drug crisis so this new community can be a viable solution on how to permanently change the lives of the addicted through mentorship and teaching from staff that have transformed their lives themselves.”

TRP is primarily for those on probation, state parole, federal probation, or pretrial, but it is also designed for any justice-involved males in San Francisco trying to get back into the community.

“It’s clear that we desperately need more recovery options in San Francisco. Our skyrocketing overdose death rate is a humanitarian crisis. Programs like this – that are designed and led by those who have experienced addiction and found a path to recovery – are exactly what we need,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani.

You can find the referral form here.

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