Nancy Pelosi's plea for federal help answered in SF's fight against fentanyl crisis

"It's about sellers, it's about people committing the crime of selling this drug."

Tara Campbell Image
Saturday, June 17, 2023
SF fentanyl crisis: Nancy Pelosi's plea for federal help answered
House Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi's plea of "Operation Overdrive" is adding another layer to the crackdown on the San Francisco's fentanyl crisis.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi's plea to become part of what's known as "Operation Overdrive" is adding another layer to the ongoing crackdown on the San Francisco's fentanyl crisis.

"For months now, we've been looking for a way to have federal participation in solving the problem," said San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi. "That's why we called upon our Attorney General of our country to prioritize what is happening in San Francisco and today I got the letter of response from him to our appeal that we would be a priority."

San Francisco is now part of "Operation Overdrive," a Department of Justice initiative targeting drug-related violence and overdoses - led by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"We've said San Francisco has a fentanyl crisis and the DEA's number one role on this is to save lives," said special agent in charge, Brian Clark of the DEA's San Francisco Field Division. "We will be out there identifying, conducting surveillance, conducting search warrants and arresting drug traffickers."

RELATED: San Francisco to receive federal assistance to combat drug trafficking

The DEA is working alongside other federal agencies, including the FBI, as well as bolstering local and state efforts.

"We are teaming up as a whole of government approach with San Francisco police with the new resources that Governor Newsom just put in with the California Highway Patrol and National Guard," added Clark.

MORE: Advocates say arresting SF Tenderloin's drug users could set off even more overdose deaths

Governor Gavin Newsom calling the federal investment critical.

"We all must work together - at all levels of government - to shutdown the poison pipeline and end this crisis of humanity on our streets," Gov. Newsom wrote in a statement.

MORE: Fentanyl seized by CHP in SF's Tenderloin enough to potentially kill 2.1M people, ABC7 News learns

Fentanyl seized by CHP in San Francisco's Tenderloin is enough to potentially kill 2.1 million people, ABC7 News learns

The former House Speaker made clear, the federal efforts will not focus on arresting drug users.

"This is not about actions against users," said Pelosi. "It's about sellers, it's about people committing the crime of selling this drug."

VIDEO: 'Injecting Hope' | Watch documentary on innovative program tackling drug overdose, fentanyl epidemic

ABC7's Injecting Hope looks at an innovative program in Canada that is saving lives by giving users a safe place to get high.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said the department will continue to arrest drug users, so far making 45 arrests.

"People are openly using dangerous drugs and intoxicated on dangerous drugs. We have to change that as well," said Chief Scott. "So, we are arresting people who are engaged in that behavior and will continue to do so."

The San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office has recorded 268 accidental overdose in the first four months of 2023, putting the city on track for the deadliest year yet amid the Fentanyl crisis.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live