SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- People packed into a community meeting Wednesday night in San Francisco's Mission District, calling on local leaders to do more amidst San Francisco's drug overdose crisis.
"I'm really excited to see this movement grow and to start calling on our leaders for the changes we really need," said Jacqui Berlinn, whose son is on the streets battling an addiction to fentanyl.
Berlinn is a co-founder of Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Deaths. The nonprofit has been pushing for a crackdown on the open-air drug market and easier access to treatment for years.
"Just having a strong consistent voice and the more people that come alongside us and start saying the same things the stronger we'll be together," she said.
"My sense is that the community has had enough of excuses and they want answers about what we're doing," said Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who was a panelist at the meeting, hosted by TogetherSF.
"This community event is about a topic that is personal to me in a way that nothing in politics in this city has ever been personal. The drug overdose crisis is affecting people like me," said Supervisor Dorsey, who prior to running for office worked as the Director of Strategic Communications with SFPD.
"I spent two years in the police department month after month in a meeting previewing the monthly report on drug overdose deaths and month after month, I looked at the number knowing I was one bad decision away from being a number," said Supervisor Dorsey.
San Francisco's Chief Medical Examiner's most recent reports show there's no sign of it slowing down. More than 130 people died of a drug overdose in January and February combined, according to preliminary numbers. Last year just over 100 people died of an overdose in the first two months; the year before that 135 people and in each of those years nearly 650 died of a drug overdose - a number that could be exceeded if this year's pace keeps up.
"My sense is that the community has had enough of excuses and they want answers about what we're doing," said Supervisor Dorsey.
Mayor London Breed recently asked the federal government for more help getting drug dealers off the streets. The city is also considering establishing safe consumption sites, sometimes called overdose prevention sites, which are places people can go to use their drugs under supervision in case of an overdose.
"What we need to do now is focus in on making sure people are staying alive - overdose prevention sites are what we're talking there and making sure people have linkage to care, which includes healthcare, treatment," said Lydia Bransten, Executive Director of The Gubbio Project, a nonprofit helping people out on the streets.
"To me, it's actually encouraging that we have a couple of hundred people here," said Supervisor Dorsey. "I think this is a good sign. I think this means we can make progress."
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