For Immediate Release Aug. 25, 2022
San Francisco, Calif. – San Francisco Community Health Center expresses deep disappointment in Governor Newsom’s Aug. 22, 2022 decision to veto SB 57, the Controlled Substances: Overdose Prevention Program.
Authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, this forward-looking piece of legislation would establish overdose prevention programs in the City and County of San Francisco, the City and County of Los Angeles, and the City of Oakland. The bedrock of these programs would be the operation of hygienic, safe, and supervised injection sites across these municipalities.
Governor Newsom’s veto of SB 57, based on the fear of an “unlimited number of safe injection sites” and a lack of “comprehensive plans for siting, operations, community partnerships, and fiscal responsibility”, is inexplicable. Not only does SB 57 provide an end date of Jan. 1, 2028 for this pilot program, the legislation stipulates a robust framework for implementation, evaluation, and the incorporation of community stakeholders in the authorization of these sites.
Across these municipalities, data trends show that low income, communities of color face a disproportionate burden in the drug overdose epidemic. Using the city of Oakland as an example, these communities (especially those who are unhoused) have had to rely on one another as first responders in cases of overdose due to adversarial approaches by law enforcement and emergency responders. Moreover, data shows that the LGBTQ community faces higher rates of substance abuse and growing rates of overdose compared to the general population.
“Beyond vetoing what is a best practice in harm reduction, the governor sent a clear message of who is a legislative priority; and it does not include those who are BIPOC, queer, or low-income,” SFCHC CEO Lance Toma said.
While this news is a setback, SFCHC will continue to advocate for harm reduction practices—like safe injection sites—to combat the rising opioid and overdose crisis.
For media inquiries, please contact Troy Espera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About San Francisco Community Health Center:
San Francisco Community Health Center is an LGBTQ and people of color community health center that believes everyone deserves to be healthy and offers the highest quality medical, dental, and behavioral health care. We foster resilience, belonging, and healing for all communities. To us, health care will always be grounded in social justice.
For more information regarding available sponsorships or to learn more about San Francisco Community Health Center, visit https://sfcommunityhealth.org or call (415) 292-3400.