After electing a district attorney who vowed not to prosecute “quality of life crimes,” such as drug possession, San Francisco is on track to break the record for the most drug overdoses in a year.
More than 621 people have died in San Francisco from drug overdoses thus far this year, which equates to nearly two deaths per day.
Last year, 441 people died of drug overdoses—a 70% increase from 2018—and 2,610 potential overdoses were prevented by Narcan, a medication commonly sprayed up the nose to reverse an opioid overdose, according to data from the city medical examiner’s office and the DOPE Project.
The number of drug overdoses in the city is more than double the number of San Francisco residents who have died from COVID-19 in 2021. Just 173 San Francisco residents have died from the coronavirus in 2021.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths have increased substantially nationwide during the pandemic.
“Overdose deaths involving cocaine also increased by 26.5 percent,” the CDC said in a statment last week.
“Based upon earlier research, these deaths are likely linked to co-use or contamination of cocaine with illicitly manufactured fentanyl or heroin,” it continued. “Overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine, increased by 34.8 percent. The number of deaths involving psychostimulants now exceeds the number of cocaine-involved deaths.”
San Francisco is much more lenient about drug-related crimes than other parts of the country, in large part because District Attorney Chesa Boudin is not prosecuting them as much as the city used to.
“In voting for this campaign, the residents of San Francisco have demanded radical change and rejected calls to go back to the tough-on-crime era that did not make us safer and destroyed the lives of thousands of San Franciscans,” he said in 2019.