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Working on the Frontlines of the Bay Area’s Addiction Crisis

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 (LEREXIS via Getty Images)

Every day, first responders in the Bay Area are straining to help people struggling with addiction. Firefighters and paramedics respond to emergency calls for people acting erratically or overdosing on drugs. Nurses administer care when they arrive at hospitals. Then, a network of social workers and counselors try to intervene with services. Many of those workers see their jobs as crucial, but also psychologically draining and frustrating as the crisis becomes even more dire. San Francisco officials are already predicting that 2023 will set a record for the highest number of drug overdose deaths. We’ll talk with frontline workers about their experiences and how they see the region’s addiction crisis.


Audrey Fisher, registered nurse, psychiatric emergency services, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center

Brittany Banis Buckley, stabilization supervisor for the Opiate Treatment Outpatient Program, San Francisco General Hospital

Sam Gebler, firefighter and paramedic. He serves as vice president of San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798.

Claudia Mendez, behavioral health clinician, San Francisco Department of Public Health


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