Political Backlash Delays Opening of Overdose Prevention Center in San Francisco Once Again

Woman sitting with caption in background: "Hello there. We're Still Here"

by Seth Katz

At the heart of San Francisco’s ongoing struggle with drug-related issues lies a promising yet elusive solution: the establishment of overdose prevention (ODP) centers. While public health experts and advocates champion these centers as vital tools for mitigating the harms of substance use, attempts at opening them have been marred by political backlash and indecision. The result is a troubling gap between ODPs’ potential benefits and the concrete actions taken to bring them to fruition.



By a Michigan Harm Redux Worker

For years, it has seemed that it was working: the flow of money and awareness into the world of harm reduction and safer injection practices was saving lives. Though still marginalized and threatened by the state and bureaucrats at all levels, people who use drugs were finally given a means to protect themselves from death: our chemical friend naloxone, often sold as Narcan.

Countless doses of Narcan have been disseminated to bar staff and office drones alike,


CART’s Alternative Response to Policing May Turn into Alternative Policing

The Compassionate Alternative Response Team (CART) was envisioned by a broad coalition of homeless people, activists, service providers and community members as a safe and dignified way to respond to complaints from the public about street-based folks. The idea was to replace the current—often traumatic—police response with a compassionate response rooted in meeting the needs of those on the street. 

After years of advocacy, CART was finally funded and set to be implemented,


After Permanent Housing Added, Shelter Legislation Moves Forward

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s shelter legislation is going to the full Board of Supervisors after the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee approved it on a 3-0 vote on May 26.

After several amendments through two committee meetings in May, one thing is for sure: Mandelman’s “Place for All Ordinance” is now a different animal from the legislation he introduced two months before with its primary focus on shelter softened as it moves to the full board on June 7.   


Mayor Breed Holds Back $3 Million From CART

In the 2021 San Francisco budget process, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the implementation of the Compassionate Alternative Response Team (CART), but Mayor London Breed refused to execute this ordinance, which would activate the peer-led CART teams, because she launched her own version of street outreach called Street Wellness Teams. Yet,  $3 million in funding was secured to begin the implementation of CART,  which currently sits untouched in unallocated reserve for a year.


Prop C funds San Francisco’s first Community-Led Sanctioned Encampment

In the midst of COVID-19, a community-led encampment in the Haight Ashbury offered an oasis for formerly homeless community members. Thanks to funding for emergency shelter made available by Proposition C, campers had a safe place to stay, daily meals and important services—and most importantly, a say in how the operation was run. 

When the pandemic struck in March 2020, Mayor London Breed issued a shelter-in-place order. But that order didn’t apply to those who had no shelter.


Innovative and much needed new program launching in SoMa!

SoMa RISE is an innovative program that will provide low barrier services to people who use drugs in and around the SoMa and Tenderloin areas, with a particular focus on individuals who are marginally housed or are experiencing homelessness, starting this winter. The SoMa RISE Center at 1076 Howard St. will welcome people under the influence of drugs into a safe, indoor setting. We will provide a space for people in crisis to stabilize and get connected to care,