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Military-Style Drug War in Tenderloin Sparks Fears That More Drug Users Could Overdose

Last week’s deployment of the National Guard and California Highway Patrol onto San Francisco’s streets to crack down on drugs comes amid intense public pressure to address open air drug use and sales.

“People are fed up with it,” said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott at a news conference on Friday. “We are fed up with it. And our attention needs to be on the people who are causing the problems, not on each other.”

But the emphasis on law enforcement for addressing the city’s drug crisis has distressed public defense attorneys and harm reduction advocates who fear the move may worsen the rate of fatal overdoses.

“Right now, we’re losing four people a day to overdose deaths on the street, and that’s up from two a day from last year,” said Sujung Kim, an attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. “Driving everything underground is part of what makes it so unsafe.”

— Read the full story.

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