San Francisco

San Francisco Begins Efforts to Fight Opioid Crisis

Salvation Army Outreach workers spent Thursday afternoon in San Francisco offering their services and handing out hygiene kits as part of the city’s effort to fight the growing opioid crisis in the city.

They looked for people who might need their services at Civic Center BART Station and handed out socks, hygiene kits and food on Market Street.

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell announced new plans as BART addressed drug use and cleanliness concerns.

"We have to address homelessness and the needs of people but we have to balance it out and there also cannot be the conditions that we’ve had at this station," said Bevan Dufty, from the BART Board of Directors.

Dufty said BART is working on the problem after it addressed drug use and cleanliness concerns. He said there are new cleaning protocols, janitorial positions filled, and partnerships with homeless outreach teams.

"We are adding 10 new staff and increasing resources to focus on drug addiction on our streets of San Francisco," City Mayor Mark Farrell said.

This comes weeks after a high-profile video appeared to show people shooting heroin in the halls.

"I thought if I can just ask people politely not to shoot up in the hallway that’s what I was going to do," said Dufty. "Drug use, illegal activity."

BART rider Shannon Gafford posted the video which led to BART and the city’s effort to get to the heart of the problem, the opioid crisis.

"This is just one area you walk anywhere down Market Street, Downtown San Francisco and you can see it everywhere, you see needles everywhere," Gafford said.

Farrell and public health officials also announced a new program to hand out a drug capable of counteracting the use of heroin.

"You’ve heard the term buprenorphine," said Dr. Barry Zevin, from Street Medicine and Shelter Health. 'That is the medication we are often using. The basic idea is to bring it where people are, get people stabilized and then they’re going to be able to move into the next steps."

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