A woman with short, platinum blonde hair wearing glasses and a T-shirt printed with the words "Heath Justice for All" speaks into a microphone at a podium where she is standing near a woman and two men, all wearing white lab coats, in front of a red wall.

Drug Policy, Addictions Specialists Oppose Prop F Tying Welfare to Drug Tests

Numerous drug policy experts and addictions specialists from across the country — as close as UCSF and as far away as Rhode Island — publicly oppose a San Francisco ballot measure that would compel adult welfare recipients to undergo drug screening before collecting cash benefits.

And efforts to publicize the measure have brought practitioners who don’t always agree about addiction treatment practices to the same side of the debate.

A woman wearing a long-sleeved, gray top and wearing her dark hair pulled back in a bun stands at a podium speaking into a microphone. Another woman appears in the frame seated behind her. This image is a screen-grab from a TV broadcast, and there is a green banner across the bottom of the frame with the following text: "Sheriff's Department Oversight Board" above "4: Presentation From the Re-Entry Community"

Service Providers Demand Access to Latinx Jail Inmates

Spanish-language programming at San Francisco’s County Jail has since become virtually non-existent as routine lockdowns caused by staff shortages have made it practically impossible to hold classes. Even while deputies work mandatory 16-hour shifts, there aren’t enough of them to escort people who administer rehabilitation sessions and other training programs into the jails.

On Feb. 2, numerous social service providers for the Latinx incarcerated population implored the Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board during its monthly meeting to help them gain access to the jail.

Several people stand in front of an evergreen tree covered in small white lights. They are holding vertical white banners displaying lists of people's names in colorful letters. Other banners are spread on the ground in front of them. A woman with shoulder-length gray hair wearing a black coat addresses the crowd speaking into a microphone on a stand.

2023 Is San Francisco’s Deadliest Year on Record for Drug Overdoses

Last Thursday San Francisco’s chief medical examiner released the city’s updated overdose death count — 752 so far — making 2023 the worst year on record for drug-related fatalities. One-third of those people were listed as having no fixed address. Later that day, a crowd gathered at Civic Center Plaza to remember more than 420 who died in the city while experiencing homelessness this year.

A young Latina with straight, long dark hair wears a lilac top and a jean jacket. She is smiling standing on a sidewalk near the intersection of a city street.

SF Students, SRO Residents Train to Reverse Drug Overdoses

Experts in overdose prevention say many teen and adult lives could be saved if more people know how to identify and respond to overdoses. In San Francisco, an array of programs are providing overdose response training to teenagers, college and medical-school students, and residents in neighborhoods that have a high rate of overdose deaths.

At a news conference about the passage of Piqui's Law, three teenage girls and a middle school-aged boy stand behind a clear lectern holding microphones from news outlets and bearing the seal of the city of Pasadena. They and others in the crowd hold signs, some of which read "Governor Newsom: Please sign SB 331 (Rubio) Piqui's Law" and "Pass Piqui's Law (Senator Susan Rubio)." They are referring to a bill that was introduced by California State Sen. Susan Rubio.

Children Violently Removed by Court Order Celebrate New California Bill Prohibiting Practice

Two children who were violently removed from their grandmother’s Santa Cruz home in October 2022 and placed into a court-ordered program to recant parental abuse allegations celebrated a victory last month when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill prohibiting such programs.

On Oct. 13, Maya, 16, and Sebastian Laing, 12, and their allies celebrated the passage of Senate Bill 331, aka Piqui’s Law, which prohibits California family court judges from forcing kids into so-called reunification camps and ensures that judges and those serving as expert witnesses undergo critical training on domestic violence and child custody.

Two women are speaking to each other at a protest rally on a plaza outside of San Francisco City Hall. They are Supervisor Hillery Ronen, who holds a pink sign that reads "We Love Marginalized Communities," and Vitka Eisen, CEO of HealthRight 360, who holds a sign that reads "Harm Reduction Works." They are both wearing jeans and black T-shirts. Many of the people standing around them are similarly dressed.

City Officials Lack Urgency to Prevent Overdose Deaths, Say Safe Consumption Proponents

Several weeks after a crucial legal hurdle blocking safe consumption sites in San Francisco was seemingly resolved, proponents said they were dismayed that city leaders and public health officials were still not greenlighting centers that could reduce deaths related to drug use.

Overdose deaths have reached 620 this year — on track to have the highest annual tally since counting began, with fentanyl causing the vast majority of fatalities, according to the chief medical examiner’s latest report.

A San Francisco Sheriff's Department prisoner transport bus arrives at the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno. The cream-colored bus is driving through the entrance, which is flanked by two brown brick walls. A series of tall, narrow traffic cones appear on the left side of the frame. District Attorney Brooke Jenkins criticizes the use of pretrial diversion programs offering defendants accused of selling drugs rehabilitation, counseling and training rather than jail sentences. Many such suspects are held at the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno.

DA’s Opposition to Drug Diversion Programs Undermines Public Safety, Say Legal Advocates

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has criticized and diminished the use of diversion programs that offer criminal defendants accused of selling drugs rehabilitation, counseling and training rather than jail sentences.

Since taking office 15 months ago, Jenkins has reduced the number of referrals to the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project by 70%, according to its CEO David Mauroff.

And as San Francisco’s rate of overdose fatalities reaches more than two deaths a day, Jenkins is pushing for defendants accused of selling drugs to remain in jail. But some legal experts say that’s a bad strategy both for the defendants and for public safety.

A rally at City Hall with a sign reading "Every Overdose Death Is a Policy Failure" #fundharmreduction

Drug Crackdown Has Sparked Violent Turf Warfare in Central San Francisco, Supervisor Says

A drug crackdown in the Tenderloin and South of Market has resulted in more than 600 arrests, with authorities seizing more than 200 pounds of fentanyl since the initiative launched in May, Mayor London Breed said.

But the coordinated effort, involving city and state law enforcement agents, appears to be leading to violent clashes, said Supervisor Dean Preston, whose district includes the Tenderloin. “They’re poking a hornet’s nest,” he said in an interview.

Graffiti covers a poster with the words "Jail the Sacklers"

Anonymous Posters Singling Out Judges for Leniency in Drug Cases Earn Condemnation From Defense Lawyers

An anonymous poster campaign calling out judges who dropped charges against people accused of selling fentanyl is getting strong pushback from San Francisco legal professionals. 

“This is just wildly inappropriate,” said Kirk Jenkins, Senior Counsel at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. “You could cause violence against judges.”