How San Francisco is Responding to its Overdose Epidemic

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A bag of assorted pills and prescription drugs dropped off for disposal is displayed during the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at Watts Healthcare on April 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 344 people died from accidental overdoses in San Francisco between January and June this year, according to the city’s chief medical examiner. Most of these overdoses involved fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that acts more quickly than heroin and is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl also caused the majority of 2020’s 710 overdose deaths. On Monday, San Francisco launched its Street Overdose Response Team, which provides resources and follow-up services for overdose survivors; the city also plans to allocate $13.2 million to additional overdose prevention efforts. We’ll talk about San Francisco’s response to the overdose crisis as well as its root causes.


Hillary Kunins, director, Behavioral Health Services and Mental Health SF, San Francisco Department of Public Health

Kristen Marshall, project manager overseeing the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) Project, Harm Reduction Coalition