Gov. Brown Signs Bill to Help People With Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders on SF Streets

Gov. Jerry Brown signed bill Senate Bill 1045 Thursday which allows San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles to implement a plan that would give their cities more tools to treat mentally ill and addicted people on city streets.

Authorized by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, the bill allows all counties in those cities to create a new conservatorship program focused on providing supportive housing and social services for homeless in need.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed took to Twitter to thank Gov. Brown and Sen. Wiener tweeting, "I look forward to moving quickly to implement this legislation in San Francisco so we can start helping people who are desperately in need."

In a statement she said, "The status quo is unacceptable — it is not humane to allow San Franciscans struggling with severe mental illness and addiction to continue to suffer on our streets."

Earlier this year, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit made national headlines after exposing a dangerous mix of trash, feces, and used needles scattered across downtown San Francisco.

City workers collect more than 287,000 used needles each month, however, San Francisco distributes 400,000 new syringes, monthly, in an effort to eliminate the need for sharing used needles, thus, reducing the potential spread of disease.

"It’s neither progressive nor humane to watch as people deteriorate and die on our streets. We have a moral responsibility to help people get healthy and thrive," Sen. Weiner said in a statement. "Our counties do not have the tools they need … Senate Bill 1045 fills a significant gap by allowing our counties to care for out most debilitated residents and makes our conservatorship laws more effective."

San Francisco is home to 22,500 intravenous drug users, according to data provided by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

"I have been a longtime supporter of strengthening our conservatorship laws and I look forward to moving quickly to implement this legislation at the local level so we can start providing care to those in need," Breed said in statement.

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