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Senator Scott Wilk. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

‘Saying Yes to Drug Addiction, One Drug Den at a Time’

‘This is like giving a person struggling with alcoholism a gift card to BevMo’

By Katy Grimes, April 22, 2021 2:52 pm

“Saying Yes to Drug Addiction, One Drug Den at a Time,” is a clever title to a very serious problem. California Senate Republicans issued a press statement with this title Thursday over their concerns with Senate Bill 57 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). “California is in the midst of an unprecedented overdose crisis that must be treated as a public health crisis,” Wiener said. Senate Bill 57 passed the Senate by a vote of 21-11, and is headed to the Assembly.

Republicans said, “Senate Democrat colleagues are making it easier for drug addicts to consume hard drugs without addressing the root causes of addiction or protecting neighbors living near proposed ‘drug den’ locations. Senate Bill 57 allows California cities and counties to establish taxpayer-staffed and funded drug dens.”

SB 57, Called the “Overdose Prevention Program,” authored by Sen. Wiener, would authorize the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Oakland to approve entities to establish and operate overdose prevention programs (OPPs) until January 1, 2027. This bill requires OPPs to provide specified services, including supervision by trained staff and referrals for treatment.

Scott D. Wiener
Senator Scott D. Wiener. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

The State Senate Republicans noted they are fighting to combat the deadly fentanyl epidemic, while their Senate Democrat colleagues appear to be normalizing substance abuse. “Missing from this bill are any strategies to appropriately utilize methadone alternatives, mandatory treatment protocols, onsite drug counseling, or even efforts to gradually wean an addict off the cycle of dependence,” bill analysis in opposition to SB 57 says.

“This is like giving a person struggling with alcoholism a gift card to BevMo. The Democrats are the party of enablers right now – and at taxpayer expense,” said Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita). “Instead of robust efforts to help drug addicts kick the habit, Senate Democrats are throwing everyone under the bus in a ‘feel good’ push to embrace the addict rather than help them get housed, healed, and back to productive life. There is zero consideration for the neighborhoods in which these sites will operate, the victims of crimes resulting from addicts roaming the streets, or the families of individuals struggling with addiction who are praying their loved one gets treatment rather than drugs.”

It is evident Sen. Wiener is concerned about drug addiction as well as the dramatic increase in drug overdoses just since 2019, attributable to the lockdown, however reaching a solution is where Wiener and others don’t see eye-to-eye.

Wiener said: “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and in California, the already alarming rate of drug overdose is worsening. A recent study of Emergency Medical Services data in the Journal of the American Medical Association found overdose rates were doubled in May of 2020, compared to 2019. More than 40 states have documented increases in opioid overdoses since the beginning of shelter in place. OPPs, also called supervised consumption services, are a necessary intervention to prevent overdose deaths. Approximately 165 OPPs exist in ten countries, and have been rigorously researched and shown to reduce health and safety problems associated with drug use, including public drug use, discarded syringes, HIV and hepatitis infections, and overdose deaths.”

Republicans noted that in 2018, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a very similar bill, Assembly Bill 186, In his veto message, Gov. Brown noted, “enabling illegal and destructive drug use will never work.”

Here is Brown’s veto message:

Former Governor Jerry Brown (Photo: ca.gov)

“I conclude that the disadvantages of this bill far outweigh the possible benefits.

Fundamentally, I do not believe that enabling illegal drug use in government sponsored injection centers-with no corresponding requirement that the user undergo treatment-will reduce drug addiction.

In addition, although this bill creates immunity under state law, it can’t create such immunity under federal law. In fact, the United States Attorney General has already threatened prosecution and it would be irresponsible to expose local officials and health care professionals to potential federal criminal charges.

Our paramount goal must be to reduce the use of illegal drugs and opioids that daily enslaves human beings and wreaks havoc in our communities. California has never had enough drug treatment programs and does not have enough now. Residential, outpatient and case management-all are needed, voluntarily undertaken or coercively imposed by our courts. Both incentives and sanctions are needed. One without the other is futile.

There is no silver bullet, quick fix or piecemeal approach that will work. A comprehensive effort at the state and local level is required. Fortunately, under the Affordable Care Act, California now has federal money to support a much expanded system of care for the addicted. That’s the route we should follow: involving many parties and many elements in a thoroughly integrated undertaking.

I repeat, enabling illegal and destructive drug use will never work. The community must have the authority and the laws to require compassionate but effective and mandatory treatment. AB 186 is all carrot and no stick.”

According to bill analysis, the co-sponsors of SB 57 are “largely health care providers and health and justice advocates:”

California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives (co-source), California Society of Addiction Medicine (co-source), Drug Policy Alliance (co-source) HealthRIGHT 360 (co-source), San Francisco AIDS Foundation (co-source), and Tarzana Treatment Centers (co-source).

Bill analysis states there is no fiscal impact to SB 57, which is hard to believe. If the the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Oakland approve entities to establish and operate overdose prevention programs, who pays for this?

The California District Attorneys Association said they believe the reasons cited by Governor Brown in his veto message are equally applicable to SB 57. “We particularly echo Governor Brown’s concern that ‘enabling illegal drug use in government sponsored injection centers – with no corresponding requirement that the user undergo treatment – will reduce drug addiction.'”

The CDAA also noted, “The recent study of injection sites completed last year by the Canadian Province of Alberta is instructive in assessing this policy. According to the study, the SB 57 injection sites have a magnet effect where addicts are drawn to the areas around the sites in the mistaken belief that use of the controlled substances in question are now legal. Consistent use of injection sites is very low, overdose deaths in the vicinity of the injection sites actually increase and COVID-19 risks are magnified.”

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10 thoughts on “‘Saying Yes to Drug Addiction, One Drug Den at a Time’

  1. Senator Wiener is a paid shill for Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030. Anything to destroy the state or the city in the guise of “health,” whether gene alteration therapy in the guise of a vaccine, oxygen deprivation and bronchial congestion in the guise of mask mandates, a free-needles program for addicts under the guise of freedom — Wiener is all in for. He’s part of the problem in California, not any solution.

  2. Senator Wiener is a paid shill for Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030. Anything to destroy the state or the city in the guise of “health,” whether gene alteration therapy in the guise of a vaccine, oxygen deprivation and bronchial congestion in the guise of mask mandates, a free-needles program for addicts under the guise of freedom — Wiener is all in for. He’s part of the problem in California, not any solution.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Charles. It made me sick to read about this. There goes Scott Wiener, AGAIN, proposing the exact opposite of what is desperately needed. How can we proceed with so many destroyers in the legislature?

  3. Without rampant drug addiction and mental illness how would the Demoncrats flood our streets with their “homeless” army? Billions of dollars in slush fund corruption are at stake!

    1. YES. It’s not an accident what Sen Scott Wiener and his muddle-headed cronies are doing, is it? How can it be when there is only deterioration from these common-sense-defying proposals and never improvement? We can only conclude that there is something in it for them, as hard as it is for most people to understand.

      As you know AB 109 dumped thousands of prisoners onto the streets, many of them drug addicts. Then the public was duped into voting for Props 47 and 57. Part of the damage from these props was a downgrading of crimes. This eliminated the carrot AND the stick of diversion from incarceration through completion of drug rehab. Now there is nothing left to motivate many of the lost souls one sees on the street and now, of course, CA leadership is hell-bent on encouraging further descent and degradation. In this environment, only a “come-to-Jesus” moment and a stint at a faith-based mission such as L.A.’s Union Rescue Mission, which has rules and offers rehabilitation, will help the few who seek it.

      Obviously this state of affairs is not good for the public but neither is it good for the homeless/vagrant population! Since then, release of thousands of prisoners by the State, election of Marxist “justice reform” District Attys who are even worse than public defenders, and you know the drill. And all of these insane policies attract more drug addicts and just-plain bums from all over the country! It’s a mess. As you know..

  4. Wiener is a busy little twist, writing legislation to advance pedophilia and drug addiction. He thinks it’s noble to let people choose the poison with which they kill themselves. He is the poster boy for spiritually and morally bankrupt California.

  5. This bill isn’t about drugs. It’s about all those pay-to-play crony contracts in the SF Dept. of Public Health to the well-connected nonprofit industrial complex that runs San Francisco City Hall. Wiener WANTS the Federal Goverment to sue San Francisco because it creates work for his corrupt cronies in the SF City Attorney’s office. While they’re busy litigating this nothingburger for the crony contractors, they aren’t doing their job which is to investigate real actual public corruption and organized crime in San Francisco.

    This isn’t about ideology – you have to think like a crooked lawyer in the context of racketeering in order to understand the True Purpose of Wiener’s Fauxgressivism.

  6. Did you know that California began sending drug addicts to 12 Step meetings (AA &NA) 20 years ago and flooded the meetings with people who used this program? And that this breaks the only requirement for membership to the programs? They basically have used AA/NA as a ‘get out of jail free’ card in order to empty out the overcrowded prison and jail system with as many drug addicts as possible. This means as your average, every day alcoholic or addict goes to AA/NA for self help, they are met with untold numbers of addicts/alcoholics from prison. I’ll never forget the day my friend, sober for 8 yrs, walked into an AA meeting in Paradise, CA looking for emotional support – she was met with a room of ex-cons, essentially. About 75 people – 2 or 3 with any length of sobriety – so when she came in desparately needing help it fell on deaf ears and she went home and committed suicide. Fill the rooms up with men fresh out of California’s prison system and what’s the first thing to go? Wives and mothers whose loved ones fear for their safety, as well they should, when rubbing shoulders with the kind of people they never partied with when they were out there practicing. Yep, California Democrats have done a wonderful job of absolutely ruining the 12 Step programs in this state, so when people wonder why there is no help you can look no further than the Einsteins who decided to manipulate AA/NA to their benefit.

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