Home>Articles>Gov. Newsom Directs CHP, National Guard To Assist San Francisco With Handling Fentanyl Crisis

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaking at the State of the State address in Sacramento, CA, Mar 8, 2022. (Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock)

Gov. Newsom Directs CHP, National Guard To Assist San Francisco With Handling Fentanyl Crisis

CHP, CalGuard to be part of joint operation with SFPD, SF DA’s Office

By Evan Symon, April 24, 2023 5:26 pm

During the weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom directed both the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California National Guard (CalGuard) to assist the City of San Francisco in helping them handle the fentanyl crisis.

For over a decade, San Francisco has had a growing number of overdose deaths due to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often added to drug shipments to increase their potency and stretch out how much product dealers can sell. However, because it is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, users often don’t know how much of the drug is going into their system, or misjudge it themselves, causing their deaths.

To date, San Francisco has been mixed on how to respond to this issue. Mayor London Breed has called for a state of emergency in the city due to the high number of overdoses, with former DA Chesa Boudin opposing major crackdowns on the drug. San Francisco has also brought the matter to court, even winning a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical agency for around $25 million last year.

With many bills that would increase punishments for those selling fentanyl currently up in the air in Sacramento, the number of overdose deaths continue. Last year, over 600 people died of fentanyl overdoses in San Francisco. This year so far, the average the number of overdoses is already 40% more than normal. Other reports found that fentanyl killed more people in the city than COVID-19. Many businesses have also been leaving or are nearly dead thanks in part to the crisis. Facing rough years ahead with a worsening crisis, Governor Newsom intervened during the weekend.

According to the agreement, the CHP and CalGuard will work with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA) to assist the city in its ongoing efforts to address the fentanyl crisis. All four will also be part of a new operation charged with dismantling the trafficking of fentanyl and disrupting the supply of fentanyl by directly holding drug trafficking groups responsible. Those with addictions will not be targeted in the operation, only traffickers and suppliers.

In addition, the CHP will work with the SFPD in fentanyl enforcement in areas with a high number of drug crimes, most notably in the Tenderloin District, as well as giving technical assistance and training. CalGuard will also have other duties, such as focusing on analyzing drug trafficking rings.

“Two truths can co-exist at the same time: San Francisco’s violent crime rate is below comparably sized cities like Jacksonville and Fort Worth — and there is also more we must do to address public safety concerns, especially the fentanyl crisis,” Governor Newsom said in a statement. “We’re taking action. Through this new collaborative partnership, we are providing more law enforcement resources and personnel to crack down on crime linked to the fentanyl crisis, holding the poison peddlers accountable, and increasing law enforcement presence to improve public safety and public confidence in San Francisco.”

New fentanyl crackdown operation in SF

“I want to thank Governor Newsom for this critical support to help break up the open-air drug dealing happening in our city” Mayor London Breed added. “Our Police Department and District Attorney have been partnering to tackle this issue and increase enforcement, but our local agencies can use more support. With the Governor’s leadership and clear direction, our state enforcement agencies can partner with us to make a difference for our residents, businesses, and workers who are living with the impacts every day.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

In addition, the CHP further clarified their position in San Francisco, with CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee further noting that “The CHP has a shared interest in ensuring our communities feel safe, and we are committed to collaborating with our law enforcement partners to enhance public safety. The CHP will be allocating additional resources for high-visibility traffic enforcement within the city of San Francisco, with a focus on reducing the trafficking of illegal drugs and the number of impaired drivers. The CHP remains dedicated to addressing the fentanyl crisis, and Governor Newsom’s public safety partnership plan will allow us to do our part in improving public safety and community trust.”

While the news has been well received, many questions over the new joint operation have lingered, with some being concerned that high volume traffickers should be gone after elsewhere in the state.

“It is good that they’re putting more resources in San Francisco to go after all this fentanyl,” explained Bay Area Security consultant and former policeman Frank Ma to the Globe on Monday. “These are actions people in the city have been asking for for years.”

“The involvement of the National Guard is concerning, you’re right. From those I know there, they’re going to have a major support role, but you’re not going to see National Guard troops marching through the city or anything like that. They’ll be out there during emergencies like anywhere in the state, sure, but if any group is going to be helping the SFPD o this, it’s the Highway Patrol.”

“And yeah, other areas of the state might be better to target, especially the border, where a lot of it comes in, as well as working with other states to help block interstate movement. Doing the former would mean working closer with the feds on this, and right now they’re not asking for additional help. And as for the latter, there is only so much you can do there. So they’re helping in San Francisco.

“I don’t know how successful they will be, but hopefully we’ll see a drop in deaths as a result, as well as a big drops of the drug on the streets. I think they are seriously forgetting just how small San Francisco is and that it is surrounded by several counties and large cities where people in San Francisco can drive to, buy, and come back, but if this causes deaths to drop and less of the junk on the streets, then it might be a first good step. Drastically increasing penalties for everyone should be happening, but that’s up to the legislature right now.”

The new operation is expected to begin soon.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


3 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Directs CHP, National Guard To Assist San Francisco With Handling Fentanyl Crisis

  1. The fentanyl crisis in SF is mostly the result of Democrat policies at the city, state and national level? No doubt the CHP and National Guard will be told to stand down and do nothing? This is just window dressing for Newsom and his plans to run for president pretending that he’s doing something when he really isn’t?

    1. Exactly. As Asm James Gallagher pointed out earlier today on a local radio interview, these stunts are only about Newsom shining a bright spotlight on HIMSELF. As you know. (Newsom also knows this latest showy trick will fall apart on its own and the money faucet for his precious Homeless Industrial Complex buddies will not be threatened or go dry.) Gallagher rightly pointed out that if Newsom actually wanted to do something he would support legislation (past and present) but of course he never does. All we EVER see from Newsom are these grandstanding, showboating gestures. Newsom the narcissistic megalomaniac is always and only about Newsom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *