California’s safe injection sites won’t help drug abuse, homelessness

In San Francisco in 2020, the number of opioid overdose deaths, 697, was more than twice as high as the city’s COVID-19 deaths, 257. Yet California lawmakers, so quick to lock down the economy, issue stay-at-home orders and mandate masks, are taking a very different approach to the opioid epidemic – giving people with drug addictions a so-called safe place to inject their drugs.

Advocates say the Golden State’s efforts to reduce the harms of drug abuse will set a model for other states to emulate. Based on our collective experience – one of us was addicted to drugs and lived on San Francisco’s streets, the other has worked with homeless women and children for more than a decade – we believe that this proposal will not lessen the substance abuse epidemic that California cities face, nor will it help homeless individuals.

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