ABC7 News' 'Injecting Hope' drives conversations about SF drug crisis at community screening

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Friday, March 24, 2023
ABC7 News' 'Injecting Hope' drives conversations at SF screening
The ABC7 News documentary 'Injecting Hope' by Tara Campbell drives conversations San Francisco drug crisis at a community screening.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The lights were on, the mic was ready and the stage was set Thursday night for a community screening of ABC7 News' documentary "Injecting Hope."

The film, by ABC7 News reporter Tara Campbell, is a deep dive into North America's first safe injection site in Vancouver, Canada.

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.

A place for people to use drugs under the supervision of a medically-trained professional, who can help in case of an overdose.

"The idea behind 'Injecting Hope' was to go up to Vancouver and really give people an on-the-ground look at how safe consumption sites work -- the impact they're having on neighborhoods and drug users," Campbell said.

Although illegal under federal law, California lawmakers passed a bill last year that would have allowed three similar sites in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles.

It was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, but that hasn't stopped proponents.

RELATED: Are safe consumption sites part of the solution to SF's drug overdose crisis?

"The loss of life San Francisco has experienced over the last three years, it's twice as deadly as COVID. It surpasses anything our city has seen since the AIDS crisis," said San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey.

Dorsey also attended the community screening.

He supports safe injection sites in the city and believes documentaries like "Injecting Hope" help bring greater awareness.

"Abstinance-based programs are only going to work with people who are alive. And there is a continuum of approaches that we need to have," he said.

RELATED: How NYC safe consumption sites could provide a roadmap for SF, as local leaders visit

More than a dozen San Francisco leaders visited New York City to get a look at the country's first sanctioned safe consumption sites.

Others, like Ellen Grantz, though, are more skeptical.

Grantz works with Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths.

She attended the screening and took part in a panel discussion alongside the supervisor afterward.

"What can happen is it can have adverse consequences, including enlarging the drug scene, making it harder for people to get into treatment," Grantz said.

MORE: Bay Area mother calls on Pres. Biden to say 'no' to safe consumption sites

Grantz believes "Injecting Hope" is important to see because it demonstrates one model.

But she says others also exist.

She points to Portugal, which has made huge steps in combating its own drug crisis since the 1990s by strongly encouraging drug treatment programs.

"If we could deliver the same results as Portugal has, instead of having 640 overdose deaths last year, we would have had four," Grantz said.

"Injecting Hope" can be seen now on demand on our ABC7 Bay Area app, wherever you stream.

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