San Francisco Wrestles With Drug Approach as Death and Chaos Engulf Tenderloin
By Editor - Thu Jan 07, 3:45 am
This story also ran on Los Angeles Times . It can be republished for free. SAN FRANCISCO — In early 2019, Tom Wolf posted a thank-you on Twitter to the cop who had arrested him the previous spring, when he was homeless and strung out in a doorway with 103 tiny bindles of heroin and cocaine in a plastic baggie at his feet. “You saved my life,” wrote Wolf, who had finally gotten clean after that bust and 90 days in jail, ending six months of sleeping on scraps of cardboard on the sidewalk. Today, he joins a growing chorus of people, including the mayor, calling for the city to crack down on an increasingly deadly drug trade. But there is little agreement on how that should be done. Those who demand more arrests and stiffer penalties for dealers face powerful opposition in a city with little appetite for locking people up for drugs, especially as the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements push to drastically limit the power of law enforcement to deal with social problems. Drug overdoses killed 621 people in the first 11 months of 2020, up from 441 in all of 2019 and 259 in 2018.
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