Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday night signed a budget request by state Sen. Scott Wiener and San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey as a trailer bill—a piece of legislation that accompanies the state's annual budget bill. Trailer bills take effect immediately upon the governor's signature and typically only require a majority vote.
According to a statement from Wiener's office, the budget request will expand access to drug testing on the streets and at community events while providing valuable insights to combat the expanding fentanyl epidemic.
“We must do everything we can to stem the rising death toll of the addiction crisis and to get people into treatment and healthy,” Wiener said in a statement. “Drug testing has become absolutely critical as fentanyl infects a larger and larger share of the drug supply. Anyone who uses should be testing beforehand, and this program will allow many more San Franciscans to take this commonsense step to prevent overdoses and poisonings.”
In June, the Governor's Office issued a statement that in six weeks, the California Highway Patrol seized enough fentanyl in San Francisco to potentially kill over 2.1 million people, the entire population of the city nearly three times over.
The grant will allow the San Francisco Department of Public Health to fund four new mobile drug testing units for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which operates the vans on San Francisco streets, and Rock Medicine, which specializes in providing free testing at community events such as concerts.
“This generous grant will enable San Francisco to significantly expand access to no-questions-asked drug checking services for recreational users of all drugs—and it will save lives,” Dorsey said. “This is a strategy that empowers anyone who uses drugs to test their substances to ensure that they're free of potentially deadly adulterants like fentanyl or worse.”
According to Dorsey, the grant will be a great support to San Francisco's overdose prevention strategy, a four-part plan by the health department to tackle the city's drug crisis by enhancing targeted overdose response teams and connecting people to care.
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