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Here’s a look at the Mayor of SF London Breed’s ‘Wellness Hubs’ plan which could include safe injection sites

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — In the ongoing battle against the drug overdose crisis, San Francisco Mayor London Breed this week publicly vowed to crack down on drug traffickers and users, while more quietly making way for injection sites secured by private funds.

“So at the end of the day, some people are going to like it and some people aren’t. And that’s exactly what it is, because I’m putting everything on the line to change what we need to do,” Breed said. .

She addressed the crowd gathered at UN Plaza on Tuesday, where board chairman Aaron Peskin pushed the weekly meeting, underscoring the urgency of the crisis at the open-air drug market hub from the city.

The mayor pushed back the following days, calling the move a political ploy as the debate over how to solve the fentanyl crisis heats up.

MORE: Q from the mayor of SF&A on UN Plaza drug crisis cut short after public pushback

On Friday, the mayor released a preview of her upcoming budget, including a more subtle message showing room to fund what she dubs, “Wellness Hubs,” noting that any inclusion of safe injection sites within hubs should be privately funded.

“We’re looking at getting funding from the city for all of the wraparound services, all of these services that are legal, that are being done right now,” Lydia Bransent, executive director, The Gubbio Project, one of the nonprofits pushing for safe injection sites.

“Where the city isn’t going to help us with funding is with the overdose prevention site. That work will be privately funded,” she said.

Overdose prevention sites, also known as safe injection or safe consumption sites, are illegal under federal law, but the mayor thinks the New York model could lead the way – using private donations to exploit the specific space within “wellness centers” where drugs are consumed – not city dollars, which in theory makes the city less responsible.

MORE: Are safe consumption sites part of the solution to SF’s drug overdose crisis?

Sam Rivera, executive director of OnPointNYC, the nonprofit operating the nation’s first two safe injection sites in New York City — the first in the country, was in San Francisco this week to prepare nonprofits as The Gubbio Project, noting the city’s support. is critical.

“Working with the city’s health department, a funder who sees his role as not only providing needed funds, but participating in a process where he can be creative and support other departments he knows are essential to enable any OPC to be successful,” Rivera said.

“Working with the city to be able to really connect people to this next stage, housing, treatment, whatever the person needs to stabilize and be able to live a healthier, safer life,” Bransten said.

Rivera also spoke at a fundraiser on Wednesday night, helping the Gubbio project raise those much-needed private funds.

VIDEO: “Injecting Hope” | Watch a documentary about an innovative drug overdose program and the fentanyl epidemic

Tara Campbell: “How much will it take to fund the real space where people use drugs?”

Lydia Bransten“Annually, to fund this, including having a medical professional, an EMT and all that, it’s going to cost about $1.2 million.”

Bransten estimates the “wellness centers” part of town will cost about $3.5 million a year, with the mayor planning to open up to three over the next two years.

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