SF supervisors unanimously approve SoMa drug sobering center

File photo - Bags of heroin, some laced with fentanyl, are displayed before a press conference regarding a major drug bust. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 sobering center that will provide 20 short-term beds and support services for people at risk of drug overdoses. 

According to Mayor London Breed's office, the mayor originally proposed the idea for the SOMA Rise Center (recover initiate support and engagement). The sobering center located at 1076 Howard Street is expected to open in fall of 2021. 

The 18-month pilot project will serve the South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods, where the city's drug overdose cases are highest. 

"The rise in drug use and overdoses in San Francisco shows that we have to take action and try new things to get people the help they need," said Mayor Breed. "Opening a sobering center provides our outreach teams with a place to take someone who shouldn’t be left alone on the street where they can sober up, settle down, and get connected to other services. It’s a safer option for the people in need of help, it will improve the conditions on our streets, and it’s an approach that just makes a lot more sense than what we’re doing now." 

In April it was reported that San Francisco was on track to breaking a record for accidental drug overdoses. In 2020, 712 people died from drug overdoses in the city, according to data from the chief medical examiner's office. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, has been a major contributor factoring into these overdoses.

Dr. Naveena Bobba, Deputy Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said drug overdoses are a serious public health crisis. 

"The SOMA RISE Center will bring help to the individuals most at risk and to the neighborhoods where its needed most," Bobba said. 

The mayor's office said a sobering center provides an alternative approach to law enforcement, unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital stays.