Much has been in the news about the fentanyl epidemic, its impact on our city and the most recent efforts underway to disrupt the distribution, sales and use of fentanyl in San Francisco with a focus on our Tenderloin neighborhood. For 60 years, GLIDE has served the people of the Tenderloin and we are acutely aware of the devastating impact fentanyl has had in our neighborhood and in our city. GLIDE has a vested interest in the safety and wellbeing of all people living and working in the Tenderloin and shares in our community’s desire for increased safety, health, equity, and justice for all.
Because of GLIDE’s proximity to the people and communities we serve, we know first-hand that increased law enforcement presence is not an effective, long-term, sustainable solution to address the crisis on our streets. We have been here before and have witnessed the direct, inequitable, and destabilizing impact criminalizing drugs has had on our community. Make no mistake, the fentanyl crisis is jeopardizing the health and safety of our community; this is a public health crisis, and we must treat it as such.
Reaching our collective goal of a safer Tenderloin for all requires deep investments in strategies that address the root causes and daily symptoms of poverty, inequity, and institutionalized racism manifesting on our streets today. We encourage our elected officials to focus state and local resources on curbing the influx of fentanyl into San Francisco at the highest level and prioritize critical investments in strategies that increase equitable access to mental health care, harm reduction and substance use treatment, supportive housing, food security and economic opportunity. We must come together and commit to deepening our understanding of the root causes of poverty and despair and make a collective commitment to transforming the systems and policies that both created and perpetuate this crisis in our beloved city.
GLIDE’s mission is to create a just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty. Through our innovative programs and services, we support people to gain greater stability for themselves, their families, and their communities. We advocate for and win policy and legislative changes that secure investments for, protect the rights of, and increase access to resources for our clients and community. We stand ready to work shoulder to shoulder with our elected officials to manifest real, lasting change in our neighborhood and create a safe, healthy, and equitable Tenderloin – and San Francisco – for all.