"I think in the future there may be a place for safe consumption sites, but we need to build out recovery and treatment first."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area mother and her son are the poster people on a new mobile billboard campaign taking aim at President Joe Biden - calling on him to say "no" to safe injection sites -- the President's own son, Hunter, having battled drug addiction.
"I'm appealing to President Biden as a parent," said Jacqui Berlinn, a co-founder of of Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths. Her son Corey has been on the streets of San Francisco's Tenderloin for more than a decade and is now battling an addiction to fentanyl.
"We need to put our funds into prevention, treatment, and recovery," said Berlinn. "So my call to President Biden and his administration is to not allow for these drug sites in the United States at this time."
The drug overdose crisis is killing on average 50 people a month in San Francisco each month and some see safe injection sites as part of the solution. These are places people can go to use their drugs under supervision - in case of an overdose.
"What we know about overdose prevention sites is that when people use pre-obtained drugs, they do not die," said Lydia Bransten, Executive Director, Gubbio Project.
Vancouver, Canada, is home to the first safe injection site in North America established nearly 20 years ago. It has overseen more than 3.5 million injections, and reversed more than 6,000 overdoses, and reported no deaths.
TOWN HALL: In-depth look at how Vancouver is dealing with drug overdose crisis
Despite being illegal in the United States, a nonprofit in New York City is operating two privately-funded safe injection sites; a model San Francisco could soon follow.
"We can put it up fairly quickly, but we want to do it correctly. We want to make sure that there are wrap services and that there is access as close as we can get to treatment-on-demand," said Bransten.
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Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths joining forces with nonprofits across the nation, forming a coalition called, North America Recovers.
"I think in the future there may be a place for safe consumption sites, but we need to build out recovery and treatment first," said Berlinn.
"Would it be perfect if we had everything lined up, yes it would - the fact that we don't should not stop us from saving lives today," said Bransten.
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