Video shows severity of SF's drug crisis as children try to navigate past users

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022
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San Francisco resident's video shows children walking past open drug use on city streets amid worsening crisis in the Tenderloin District.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- They say that pictures speak louder than words. We continue to talk about the drug problem in San Francisco, but one video is getting a lot of attention because it shows kids getting off a bus and then having to walk past an entire block of people with drug paraphernalia.

Open drug use in San Francisco's South of Market area has become predictable.

Drug users nodding off, shooting up or smoking fentanyl is a matter of course for residents living near 8th and Mission Streets.

"I started filming things and at first I wasn't even going to. I didn't know what I was going to do with the video," explained Ricci Wynne who lives in the SoMa neighborhood.

VIDEO: Family recounts what it's like living in SF's Tenderloin

He finally posted a video showing a group of kids getting off a Muni bus as he tells them to "Get home safe." The video then shows people openly using drugs as the kids navigate their way past them.

Three days after he posted the video, nothing had changed. Wynne was not surprised.

"There's you know, a lot of madness, a lot of lawlessness," he said.

At one point ABC7 News had to pause the interview due to being interrupted by a man yelling.

We first brought this block to your attention last March as part of our ongoing coverage of the problems that plague the nearby Tenderloin District.

RELATED: Community works to protect kids from onslaught of crime, homelessness in SF's Tenderloin

On Monday, we witnessed how hard it is for the city to push drug users into rehab.

"The thing with programs, programs are meant for failure," one drug user said when asked how hard it is to get help.

The man, who did not want to give ABC7 his name, said he has never tried to stop using drugs.

"I try my own program. My own program is love," he told us.

RELATED: 85% of SF's drug arrests happen in the Tenderloin. Police explain why

Around midday, a paramedic came to help clear the area so that city workers could clean the sidewalk.

For many, the drug crisis has become unacceptable.

"Number one, close the open drug scene. They are helping no one, they are not helping the users, they are not helping the community. How do you close them? Well, you have to use law enforcement," said Ellen Grants of Mothers Against Drug Deaths. But she added it doesn't have to be punitive, instead the city should put more money into treatment.

Wynne, on the other hand, says the city needs to target the drug dealers, otherwise, users will never get help.

"And when they are getting swarmed by drug dealers and drugs right on the street, it's hard for them to have the tenacity and willpower to say no. I don't want that," he said.

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