Mixed reaction to Gov. Newsom's plans to combat San Francisco's fentanyl crisis

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Mixed reaction to Newsom's plans to combat SF's fentanyl crisis
There are still questions over what Newsom's plan to enlist the CA National Guard and CHP to combat San Francisco's fentanyl crisis will look like.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Just days ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom called in CHP and the California National Guard to work with San Francisco Police Department and the city's district attorney's office to combat the fentanyl crisis.

There are still questions over what this will look like. Some are praising the move while others are angry.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom calls in CA National Guard to help combat SF's ongoing fentanyl crisis

Newsom's office says the crackdown here will not target those with addictions, rather those who are supplying and trafficking. Still though, there are mixed reactions out there.

San Francisco police could be seen on video this weekend in the SoMa District of San Francisco making what appear to be drug-related arrests, according to witnesses.

This comes days after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he was calling in help to address San Francisco's fentanyl crisis.

"I really feel that the more resources, the more agencies involved, the better," said Rabbi Moshe Langer of Chabad of SF Positively 6th Street.

Rabbi Langer's Chabad has also partnered with Pizza Pagaia, a kosher location across the street. Langer says there are major safety concerns in his neighborhood and believes a better statewide law enforcement connection here will help.

MORE: San Francisco's drug overdose crisis shows no signs of slowing in 2023, reports reveal

"They can hopefully gather intel together with whatever is happening here in the city and prevent the drugs from coming in," said Langer.

But some were not encouraged by the announcement.

Supervisor Dean Preston issued a press release Sunday to what he called "the Governor's publicity stunt in the Tenderloin." Saying the governor, "vetoed overdose prevention sites legislation" that Preston believes has increased public drug use and fatal overdoses in the city.

Police Chief Bill Scott last week said this:

"We are not talking about a military state - the National Guard goes into many places and helps out," said Chief Scott.

The governor saying Friday that the goal is to disrupt the supply of the deadly drug in the city by "holding the operators of large-scale drug trafficking operations accountable."

MORE: There is a new deadly opioid showing up on San Francisco streets

Rabbi Langer says he supports more than just rehab for those addicted.

"But we also want to make sure that the people who are on the top, that are dealing, the drug lords, are put where they need to be put. I believe that if they could make a dent in the fentanyl and having less of it on the streets, I think that's amazing," said Langer.

San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju is against the governor's plan.

"We do need our state and city leaders to act with this type of urgency to prevent overdose deaths, like opening overdose prevention centers. No amount of law enforcement will solve what is really a public health crisis," said Mano Raju, whose office held a press briefing with drug policy and public health experts last year to offer evidence-based alternatives to criminalization for both those who use drugs and sell them.

"We know from 50 years of the war on drugs that the people who are likely to be targeted by any forthcoming operations will be in low-income and Black and Brown communities, including those who have been trafficked or coerced into the drug trade under threat to themselves and their families."

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