Aurelia Ramirez walks by tents and debris along Folsom Street.

Overdose Deaths Swell Among SF’s Maya Residents, Highlighting Urgent Need for Culturally Competent Drug Health Services

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco’s Mayans have been dying of drug overdoses at elevated rates. More robust health services are needed, experts say, and providers should be culturally competent and able to communicate effectively with these residents, who may not be fluent in English or Spanish.

Silhouettes of two people crossing the desert.

California Program Trains Undocumented Residents to Become Therapists and Serve Those in the Shadows

The future is uncertain for California Proposition 1, which looks like it might pass by a razor-thin margin and would expand the state’s mental health and substance abuse treatment infrastructure. As votes are still being tallied, we bring you this story from news outlet MindSite News about a San Francisco organization that is filling a glaring void in the health care system.

A poster with a blue background and white and yellow graphics and lettering placed near a sidewalk urges people to "Stay 6 feet apart."

Reporter’s Notebook: The Epidemic She Didn’t Expect to See

Mel Baker shares an excerpt of an interview with Dr. Monica Gandhi in which they discuss the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gandhi is a professor of medicine and associate division chief of HIV, infectious diseases, and global medicine at UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and author of “Endemic: A Post Pandemic Playbook.”

Proveedores de Servicios Exigen Acceso a Reclusos Latinos

La falta de programación en español es un problema crecientemente grave ya que el encarcelamiento de latinos ha aumentado desde el lanzamiento el junio pasado de una ofensiva policial contra las drogas en los vecindarios de Tenderloin y sur de Market. • Read in English:

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 man in his eighties sits on his bed in a small single-room occupancy residence in Chinatown. Behind him is a window where he hangs his clothes. There are assorted items beside him, including a desk fan, a television, newspapers and cardboard boxes.

Protecting Chinatown’s Older Adults From Climate Disasters Requires More Funding, Nonprofits Say

Community organizations say the systems in Chinatown to protect older populations during extreme weather are not enough to meet the needs that could arise. Without sufficient financial backing, the health of many older residents in the neighborhood could be threatened during extreme weather disasters. Similar scenarios could transpire in San Francisco’s other climate-vulnerable areas.