District 5 Supervisor London Breed invited constituents yesterday to complete an online survey about harm-reduction services and injection drug use. Respondents will have a chance to take part in one of two 90-minute focus groups to be held next week.
The survey is part of a proposal Breed brought forward in May to create a Safe Injection Services Task Force to shape strategy for creating spaces where users can inject previously-purchased drugs under supervision and without fear of arrest.
Breed's resolution proposing the task force passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously; since then, the Department of Health (DPH) has been conducting meetings and doing outreach "to explore the feasibility of operating safe injection services," she wrote on Facebook.
Feedback from residents and merchants about the neighborhood impacts of IV drug use "will be incredibly valuable to the work of the Task Force and will also provide you with an opportunity to share any additional insight you think may be helpful," said Breed.
Proponents say using harm-reduction practices like supervised injection centers can improve quality of life for all residents, given that there are an estimated 20,000 IV drug users in San Francisco.
According to DPH's survey, there are more than 100 safe-injection sites worldwide that "have been shown to reduce health and safety problems associated with drug use, including public drug use, discarded syringes, HIV and hepatitis infections, and overdose deaths."
The survey indicates that focus groups will consist of up to 30 people each and will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 on July 10 and 11.
To join a focus group, complete the survey, then indicate a preferred time; DPH will follow up with people who've been selected to participate.
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