TogetherSF Action, a San Francisco-based advocacy group, has flooded the city’s streets with billboards criticizing the government’s response to the fentanyl crisis that are meant to shock readers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The campaign criticizes local government policies that the group believes promote and enable drug abuse while failing to promote recovery, particularly the tolerance of open-air drug markets according to the Chronicle. TogetherSF Action placed ads in areas known for open-air drug sales including the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, according to the outlet.
“We want people to stop looking the other way. We have to confront this problem if we’re gonna solve it,” Kanishka Cheng, executive director of TogetherSF Action, told the Chronicle. “We have to shock people into action to realize this is actually not normal. It’s not OK, and we can do better, and the people in distress on our streets deserve better.” (RELATED: Journalist Goes On Quest To Debunk Blue City’s Bad Reputation, Instead Writes About It ‘Spiraling’ Out Of Control)
San Francisco recorded 620 accidental drug overdose deaths in 2022, 72% of which were attributed to fentanyl. Democratic Mayor London Breed is currently pushing to legalize supervised injection sites, where users can take drugs and access free needles; the city previously opened a $22 million center to be a resource for drug treatment, but the center referred less than 1% of users to treatment and was shut down after becoming a hotbed for crime and drug use, according to The San Francisco Standard.
If you have to bring in the National Guard to bust the drug markets, that might be a sign you need to run your state better https://t.co/F2cdNoSLzt
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 22, 2023
“SF enables drug use but not recovery,” one ad reads beneath a statement indicating that the city will stop people from harming themselves with a knife but not with fentanyl, according to the Chronicle. Each ad features the slogan “That’s Fentalife” surrounded by colorful dots representing rainbow fentanyl.
“It’s time for a change,” Akbar said. “The city very seldom promotes recovery. That tells people that it’s OK to be in the position you’re in and keep your hands out like cups. What we are promoting is being able to pick yourself up off the ground and have a new life. Be accountable. Be a taxpayer. Be a voter. That’s what we like to see.”
Cedric Akbar, director of a local addiction treatment provider who is himself in recovery, praised the ads and said he was tired of open-air drug use and people defecating on the streets, according to the Chronicle.
“It’s time for a change,” he said. “The city very seldom promotes recovery. That tells people that it’s OK to be in the position you’re in and keep your hands out like cups. What we are promoting is being able to pick yourself up off the ground and have a new life. Be accountable. Be a taxpayer. Be a voter. That’s what we like to see.”
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