San Francisco commuters are resorting to arming themselves with baseball bats and stun guns due to droves of violent drug addicts descending on a once peaceful neighborhood following the opening of a drug sobering facility in the area.
Residents of the SoMa, in northeast San Francisco, said the recent opening of the SoMa RISE drug sobering center, which opened in June, has plagued the neighborhood, making it unsafe.
The center, which aims to temper drug usage, has done nothing but draw heavy users to the neighborhood, residents say.
Residents said the influx of drug users had brought soaring crime, making the neighborhood more dangerous, Fox News reported.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed touted the center as a safe haven for addicts looking to rebuild their lives.
But according to SoMa resident and business owner Mark Sackett, the reality of the center in the neighborhood is much different.
“They’re letting their clients come out here and get high, go inside and get sober and then get high again,” Sackett told ABC7.
Another resident, only identified as Ghis, had similar sentiments:
“More troublemakers settling in, feeling comfortable doing their drugs, pissing and s****ting in the street blocking the sidewalks,” Ghis said, adding the neighborhood was going through a period of insanity.
San Francisco commuters
Another local, only known as Bill, said there has been nothing but trouble since the center opened, and he worries about commuting to work because of the danger.
“Every morning it’s a roulette. When you show up at your office, are there going to be 10 people passed out in front of your building?” he said.
“Are they going to be violent? This was never a problem before HealthRight 360 moved in,” he said.
“If you ask me, it should be closed down and there should be other approaches to the homeless and drug problem we’re all facing,” Bill added.
Mayor Breed said in June the center would bring about a change in the lives of “all San Franciscans.“
“Our city is experiencing a substance use and mental health crisis that is sadly affecting far too many residents,” she said.
“As we continue to address the challenges on our streets, we need to do all that we can to focus our resources and our efforts on those who need it most,” the Mayor continued.
“The opening of the SoMa RISE Center will not only provide a safe space for individuals in need, but it brings us one step closer to making a difference in these people’s lives and the lives of all San Franciscans,” the Mayor added.
$4.2million of taxpayer’s money has been allocated to the center for 2022 and 2023, ABC7 notes.
CEO of HealthRight 360, Vitka Eisen, then the entity which operates the center – asked locals to “be patient with us.”
“We can’t fix everything, but we’re a piece of that,” Eisen said.
“A piece of the city trying novel things to respond to people experiencing homelessness and street drug use and mental illness.”