Priority Policy

Mental Health & Drug Crisis

At a Glance

  • Declare a fentanyl state of emergency.
  • Shut down open-air drug markets.
  • Stand up co-responder teams of behavioral health experts and law enforcement.
  • Create 24/7 Drop-Off Crisis Centers.
  • Mandate treatment on demand or face arrest.
  • Coordinate treatment for individuals on a 5150 hold.

The Details

We lost 806 people in San Francisco last year to drug overdoses. We must act urgently.

I will declare a citywide fentanyl state of emergency to bypass the bureaucracy, surge city resources, and access funds from the state and federal government. The declaration will enable us to hire faster and repurpose existing personnel.

I will cut bureaucracy and ensure a coordinated and measurable response to the emergency we face. I will appoint a senior-level position in the mayor’s office to coordinate the inter-agency response. They will report directly to me.

The emergency declaration and resources will be used to enable the rapid deployment of my supply-side and demand-side health and safety plans. We will shut down drug markets and get people into effective treatment to end the suffering on our streets.

Let’s start with the supply side: shutting down open-air drug markets.

Keeping Drug Dealers Out of the Tenderloin & SOMA

I will hold drug dealers accountable, using technology and enforceable consequences. I developed my plan in consultation with law enforcement officials and behavioral health experts.

Today, we seldom monitor or dispatch law enforcement in real-time. Officers aren’t often responding to stay-away order violations or to behavior consistent with narcotics trafficking.​

Under my plan, the Sheriff will monitor these individuals with geolocation technology. If they enter the Tenderloin or SOMA, the Sheriff will report them to BART Police or SFPD. Then, officers will execute the search condition for violations of the stay-away order. If the individual breaks the terms of their pretrial release, they will face arrest.

When I’m mayor, we will send a message: San Francisco is not a place you come to sell drugs.

Addressing the Drug & Mental Health Crisis

In San Francisco, people are left to suffer on the streets. Or they enter a revolving door of ER visits and police citations that get ignored.

Under my administration, we will change that, addressing the demand side of our crisis.

We will enforce the laws on the books. Instead of letting people live on the street and do drugs, we will give them a choice: get immediate treatment or face arrest.

With my plan, we will break the cycle of homelessness, addiction, and criminal activity. This will create a safer and more compassionate city. To do this, my administration will:

  1. Launch co-responder teams of behavioral health professionals and law enforcement officers to respond to crises.
  2. Implement a deflection program to get people into treatment, or face arrest.
  3. Open 24/7 Drop-off Crisis Centers where people can be assessed and directed toward proven treatment.
  4. Launch 5150 Care Coordinators.
  5. Create a new position in the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to coordinate response and data across city agencies and audit performance.
  6. Execute care on-demand.

My plan is based on a sequential intercept model. This is a proven framework for addressing mental health and substance use disorders. The robust details have been backed by both law enforcement and behavioral health experts.

Support for This Plan

“This plan will advance public safety by providing services designed to create a seamless continuum of care that will interrupt the cycle of homelessness, addiction, and criminal activity.”​ — Jennifer Johnson, Co-founder of SF’s Behavioral Health Court

“Daniel’s approach will not only enhance our quality of life, it will support officer retention and morale by limiting contact with a population that drives use-of-force incidents and many injuries to police. This approach will also reduce 911 response times by freeing up valuable police resources.” — Paul Yep, Former SFPD Commander