SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Following a veto by former Gov. Jerry Brown last year, a measure that would allow safe injection sites in San Francisco has been reintroduced in the state legislature.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) introduced AB 362 on Monday. If approved, the measure would create a 3-year pilot program allowing San Francisco to implement the sites, the first such sites in the country.
“Public drug injection reflects a failure in our healthcare system, and we have an obligation to try new approaches to help people get healthy. We also must improve the safety and livability of our neighborhoods by reducing public drug injection and syringe litter,” Wiener said in a statement.
Mayor London Breed had been pushing to open the sites, with hopes that they would take drug users off the streets and into facilities with access into counseling, modeled after a facility that has been operating in Vancouver for years.
The program came about after countless complaints of used drug paraphernalia, human waste and trash in the San Francisco streets being linked to open drug use.
Last year, Brown vetoed a similar measure last fall, saying that supporting supervised drug use will “never work.” The Department of Justice had threatened prosecutions if safe injection sites were established.
“I’m disappointed that the Governor has vetoed this important public health bill. Safe injection sites save lives. If we are going to prevent overdoses and connect people to services and treatment that they badly need to stop using drugs in the first place, we need safe injection sites,” Breed said following Brown’s veto last year.
San Francisco has an estimated 22,000 intravenous drug users and in recent years has reported about 200 overdose deaths a year, largely from opioids.