Death of 16-year-old girl in San Francisco should be 'wakeup call' in overdose crisis, officials say

The apparent overdose death of a 16-year-old girl in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood stunned residents and prompted calls to action from city officials Monday.

The city medical examiner’s office has not released the name of the girl who was found unresponsive on the 600 block of Minna Street around 6:30 a.m. Friday, prompting police to deem the death suspicious.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes the block where the teen was found, said the death appeared to be an overdose and police were looking for people who may have been with her.

"When a young person dies, if that’s not a wakeup call for all of us, I don’t know what is," Haney said in an interview with KTVU on Monday. "This is a young girl who had her whole life in front of her and she should not have been in a position where she was using drugs on our streets."

RELATED: Teen charged with murder after 12-year-old San Jose girl dies of fentanyl overdose

The death is the latest dark turn in an ongoing drug overdose crisis plaguing San Francisco. On a visit to the block where the teen perished on Monday, a KTVU reporter saw several apparent drug dealers and users lining both sides of the street.

Jack Phillips is an admitted fentanyl user who stopped by a small memorial where the girl perished.

"It really, really sucks," he said. "It’s not fair. That’s way too young to go – way too young."

San Francisco saw nearly 700 overdose deaths a year in 2020 and again in 2021.

Mayor London Breed in December declared a state of emergency in the Tenderloin – just blocks from where the girl died – and the epicenter of the city’s drug crisis.

District Attorney Chesa Boudin – who opposed the mayor’s plan – tweeted over the weekend that he is committed to action and pledged to "hold dealers accountable."

Boudin’s office has been accused of going easy on dealers amid the worsening overdoes crisis. 

A spokeswoman for the office said Monday that the district attorney’s office has filed charges in 73% of drug cases presented by police. 

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky