District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey (Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Police Department)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Three city supervisors announced the opening salvo in a bid to create a comprehensive strategy to address quality-of-life issues in the city Tuesday.

“San Franciscans are demanding solutions as big as our problems, and none of the problems facing our city right now are more visible, more destructive, or more deadly than rampant street-level drug dealing, open-air drug scenes and overdoses,” District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who represents south of Market on the city’s Board of Supervisors, stated in a press release from his office. “The resolution my colleagues and I are introducing today begins the important work of scoping ‘San Francisco Recovers,’ the comprehensive, coordinated and sustained citywide strategy we need to make the kind of progress San Franciscans expect of us.”

Dorsey was joined by District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who represent the Castro and the Marina, respectively, on the board at the announcement yesterday morning.

Specifically, the trio announced a resolution that will be introduced at the board urging city departments to report back to the board “with specific information necessary to permit the board to a scope a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained citywide strategy called ‘San Francisco Recovers’ to reverse the city’s crisis in accidental drug overdose deaths; to incentivize and support recovery from drug addiction; and to end overt drug markets, open-air drug scenes and associated public nuisances and harms to the community.”

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Concerns about the confluence between open drug scenes, mental health crises, addiction and street homelessness have been behind much anxiety in recent years; these joined other forces in propelling the recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and the appointment of Brooke Jenkins to replace him, a few months ago.

Drug overdoses have claimed the lives of almost 2,000 San Franciscans since Jan. 2020, as the powerful synthetic opiate fentanyl floods the streets.

“San Francisco’s future demands that we end open-air drug scenes,” Mandelman stated. “This resolution lays out a path to get there. Residents, small business owners, and visitors are justifiably frustrated that despite our $600 million behavioral health budget, hundreds of people continue to die of overdoses year after year. ‘San Francisco Recovers’ calls on all of city government to upend the status quo of unmitigated suffering on our streets, and I look forward to working alongside Supervisor Dorsey to make real this vision.”

The press release from Dorsey’s office states there will be five main focuses of the program:

  1. Public health objectives and programs
  2. Criminal justice objectives and programs
  3. “Right to Recovery” programs
  4. “Sober New Deal” programs
  5. Enhanced transparency objectives and programs

The money might come from settlements against six defendants, including Walgreens, secured by City Attorney David Chiu, for the involvement in the opioid crisis, the press release stated.

“We have thousands of people slowly dying on our streets and we must do everything we can to make sure that people struggling from addiction get the help they need. It’s time to end the open air drug markets, get fentanyl off our streets, reduce overdoses, and get people into recovery,” Stefani stated.