San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey proposes 'drug enforcement priority zones'

San Francisco's new District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey proposed legislation Tuesday that would establish "drug enforcement priority zones" near the city's facilities that serve those recovering from substance or alcohol addiction.

The policy would not change penalties for illegal drug use or sales, but would instead create "Right to Recovery Zones" in which law enforcement officers could immediately arrest and take into custody anyone involved in drugs sales as well as confiscate illegal drugs and paraphernalia.

The size of these city zones and how they will be identified are still to be determined.

"This is about better protecting those who take the brave first step of seeking recovery from addiction or alcoholism from the dangerous influences of open-air drug scenes and predatory drug dealers," Dorsey said.

Open about his personal struggles with substance abuse and recovery, Dorsey has been vocal about tackling the city's rise in drug overdose deaths.

"After many conversations with neighborhood residents, I’m convinced this is the best way for us to incentivize public support for more treatment facilities, sober living environments, and supervised consumption sites," Dorsey said.

Chief Cristel Tullock of the San Francisco Adult Probation Department also noted the department's establishment of drug-free programs and recovery initiatives in recent years.

"The ‘Right to Recovery’ initiative will ensure that people who are striving to live a drug-free life will have a safe space to recover and a ‘non-triggering’ environment to rebuild their life," Tullock said.

Dorsey was appointed District 6 supervisor last month by Mayor London Breed. He previously served as the strategic communications director for the San Francisco Police Department and press secretary for former City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

This proposal arrives as one of other potential legislation proposals as part of Dorsey's "Right to Recovery" plan, which the supervisor said aims to "encourage and better support those struggling with substance and alcohol use disorder who seek recovery."