New York needs to learn from San Francisco’s drug failure
Attention, New York politicos — want proof that so-called safe injection sites do nothing to help communities suffering in the opioid epidemic? Look no further than San Francisco.
Mayor London Breed has arranged to shut down the “Linkage Center” in the heart of the Tenderloin district — where she last year declared a state of emergency as drugs flooded the area and killed its citizens.
Linkage was supposed to help addicts find treatment. Yet, of the 23,000-odd it “helped” from last April through this January, it referred only 18 for treatment. The rest likely used it as a shooting gallery and moved on.
San Francisco saw 49 overdose deaths the month Linkage opened — and the same level in months that followed. Meaning Linkage made no real difference.
This ugly failure cost the city’s taxpayers a whopping $19 million. Yet Breed, insanely, says she’ll likely set up another “safe consumption” site in the near future (though that could be an empty promise).
New York, which has recently begun to embrace its own safe injection sites, needs to rethink this terrible move immediately. Especially given the tragic 78% increase in overdose deaths it saw for the first six months of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Numbers don’t lie, and they side with the skeptics here: Helping people shoot up does nothing to end the opioid crisis. Sites like these, whatever they’re called, aren’t effective pathways out of addiction.
Which makes the city’s embrace of them all the more disturbing. Indeed, the tactic’s fundamental callousness is clearly seen in the absurd subway ads offering helpful tips on how to use heroin “safely” (near other stern ads urging you to keep your mask on).
Worse still, this idiocy looks set to go national. The Biden administration has signaled it will likely try to regulate such sites, rather than crack down on them.
Cities absolutely can do things to fight this epidemic, like keeping the pressure on dealers through policing. The feds can fight traffickers — first and foremost by getting serious about border security. The drug driving deaths, fentanyl, flows here from Mexico.
Injection sites and drug positivity only bring more death and misery.