San Francisco supervisor calls drug overdoses a public health crisis

A San Francisco supervisor is calling on the city's health department to come up with an emergency response plan to combat the increasingly high number of deadly drug overdoses involving opioids such as fentanyl. 

WATCH: Sup. Matt Haney joins us on KTVU's The Four 

Supervisor Matt Haney described the situation as a public health crisis and on Tuesday, he introduced a resolution calling on the health department to formulate an emergency plan. It  would include  more outreach workers and making Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, more readily available.  

"We also need to make sure treatment spots are available," Haney said. "If there's somebody out there that needs help and we don't have anything available, that's dangerous and reckless...I don't know how anybody can say we're doing enough when more and more people are dying." 

In response to Haney's proposal, Mayor London Breed said in a written statement, "The Department of Public Health has nurses and outreach workers out on the street everyday helping people into treatment and working to prevent overdoses."  

During a Board of Supervisor meeting two weeks ago, the mayor said the San Francisco police and the U.S. Attorney's Office are targeting high level drug dealers.

"Sadly, what we know right now is people are arrested, and they're released and there are no consequences," said Breed. 

According to the Department of Public Health, there were 259 drug overdose deaths in 2018, up from 222 the year before. The head of San Francisco General Hospital's emergency department  told KTVU  he sees deadly overdoses almost every day, so he expects the numbers this year to surpass last year.

The deaths are more than just numbers to the people who actually live on the streets.  

"I've seen two to three people not survive from drug overdoses," said Kyrra Wright, who was homeless until recently. 

Haney said he expects the Board of Supervisors to approve his resolution when they vote on it next month.