San Fran Mayor Announces Plan That May Start To Turn Things Around
San Francisco, known for its progressive values, is taking a new approach to tackling two of the city's most pressing issues: homelessness and the fentanyl crisis. On Tuesday, Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Matt Dorsey announced a plan that would require individuals receiving welfare to comply with mandatory drug testing and treatment programs.
At the forefront of the proposal is the aim to provide support and resources for those with substance use disorders. "San Francisco is a city of compassion, but also a city that demands accountability," said Mayor Breed. "We want to help people get the care they need, but under current state law, local government lacks the tools to compel people into treatment."
The new initiative would require individuals with substance use disorders who want to access county-funded cash assistance to be enrolled in treatment and services. This includes screenings and a range of intervention options such as residential treatment, medical detox, and outpatient programs. If an individual refuses or does not successfully engage in treatment, they would not be eligible for CAAP (County Adult Assistance Programs) cash assistance.
Supervisor Dorsey, a recovering addict himself, expressed his support for the initiative, stating that coercive interventions have been proven to work. "We’re facing an unprecedented loss of life in San Francisco, and we know that we need to do something different," he said.
However, the proposal may face opposition from more progressive members of the City Council who have traditionally been against forcing involuntary treatment for the mentally ill. Mayor Breed's announcement coincided with the entrance of a new primary challenger in next year's election, Daniel Lurie. The former nonprofit executive and heir to the Levi Strauss & Co. fortune criticized the current leadership for not doing enough to address the city's issues.
"What we are seeing on the streets of San Francisco is not progressive," Lurie said in a campaign announcement video. "We need the courage to try to do things differently."
The proposal also aims to address the alarming levels of open-air drug markets and rising crime in the city. The mayor's office reported that approximately 20% of CAAP recipients self-disclosed having substance abuse issues during initial interviews. It is also likely that the incidence of substance use disorder among CAAP recipients experiencing homelessness is higher than the rest of the population.
If approved, the initiative could have a significant impact on the city's homeless and fentanyl crises. The mayor's office believes that it will create more accountability and help individuals access the treatment and services they need.
Mayor Breed and Supervisor Dorsey are hoping to garner support for the proposal from both sides of the political spectrum. With the election looming, the fight against homelessness and drug addiction has become a central issue for San Francisco, and it remains to be seen how this controversial proposal will be received by the public and City Council.