The number of San Francisco residents who have died from drug overdoses during the past year far exceeds the number who have died from COVID-19.
A record high number of 621 people died from overdoses in 2020 compared to the 173 who have died from COVID-19, according to statistics reported by The Associated Press.
In 2019, 441 people died from drug overdoses in the city, which gives 2020 the grim distinction of having experienced a staggering increase of more than 40%. The overdose statistics of 2019 were a 70% increase from those in 2018.
“The data reflects the number of times people report using Narcan to the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project, a city-funded program that coordinates San Francisco’s response to overdose, or return to refill their supply,” the AP reported, referencing the medicine used to reverse opioid overdoses. “Officials at the DOPE Project said that since the numbers are self-reported, they are probably a major undercount.”
The overdoses afflict every part of San Francisco, which remains under a strict stay-at-home order, though nearly 40% of the deaths were in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, and many took place in low-income apartments and city-funded hotel rooms for homeless people.
Many of the skyrocketing overdoses are attributable to the highly potent painkiller fentanyl, which has inundated the city’s drug supply, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco’s drug epidemic has riled up some residents who are tired of it. In May, a University of California law school banded together with local businesses and residents to sue the city for not cleaning up the feces and drugs afflicting their neighborhood.
As The Daily Wire reported:
The drug-dealing and feces inundating the streets of one neighborhood in San Francisco have become so ubiquitous that the University of California Hastings College of the Law, joined by local business owners and residents, is suing the city to clean the mess up.
The lawsuit states:
Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the de facto policy of the City and County of San Francisco to use the Tenderloin community as a containment zone had resulted in a dramatic decline in the livability and safety of the neighborhood. The deplorable conditions tolerated by the City in the Tenderloin are not permitted in other neighborhoods in San Francisco. This is a matter of fundamental fairness; what is a city-wide problem should not be allowed to weigh disproportionately on a low-income working- class neighborhood. San Francisco should be prohibited from abandoning a single neighborhood, in an apparent effort to spare other neighborhoods the burdens that confront the city at-large.
Open-air drug sales and other criminal activity, plus crowds of drug users and sidewalk-blocking tents, pervade and threaten the health and lives of all of the Tenderloin’s residents. What has long been suffered in the Tenderloin has become insufferable.