San Francisco Launches Initiative To Seek Out Drug Users And Offer Anti-Addiction Prescriptions On The Street
Medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone is widely considered the most effective way to wean users off opioids, but a major barrier is getting people the treatment. "We can’t wait for addicts to come to us. We have to go to them and engage. And offer. And give support,” said Barbara Garcia, director of health for the city and county of San Francisco.
The Washington Post:
San Francisco Will Bring Anti-Addiction Medication To Users On The Streets
San Francisco will begin supplying anti-addiction medication to long-term drug users and homeless people on city streets, an attempt to overcome a formidable obstacle to treatment that has complicated efforts to address the opioid crisis. The city is scheduled to announce Thursday that its medical providers will offer buprenorphine and naltrexone prescriptions at needle exchanges, in parks and in other places where people with opioid disorders congregate. Users will be able to pick up the medications, which block the craving for opioids and the painful symptoms of withdrawal, at a centrally located city-run pharmacy. (Bernstein, 5/17)
San Francisco Chronicle:
SF Mayor’s Bold Plan To Treat Heroin Addicts On The Street
Mayor Mark Farrell is set to announce Thursday that he is including $6 million in his current budget proposal to fund the 10-person team over the next two years, with the aim of prescribing the medication buprenorphine to at least 250 street addicts. Buprenorphine, widely available only in recent years and commonly known by its main brand name Suboxone, works faster and causes fewer side effects than methadone. Given the heroin epidemic that is swelling the city’s streets with dirty needles and addled users, it’s being seen as a potential game-changer. (Fagan, 5/16)
In other news —
Public Bathrooms Become Clandestine Epicenter Of Opioid Crisis
Publicly accessible bathrooms like the one where [Catherine] Altop died last year have become a clandestine epicenter of the opioid crisis, serving as the setting for numerous fatal overdoses and close calls. Just this month, Cook County sheriff’s officers revived a man who allegedly overdosed in the bathroom of the Skokie courthouse, while another man died of a suspected overdose in the restroom of a Downers Grove Starbucks. Experts say the seclusion afforded by these spaces makes them dangerous, especially as fentanyl has increased the potency of heroin to unpredictably strong levels. (Keilman, 5/17)
Kaiser Health News:
Opioid Overdoses Are Rising Faster Among Latinos Than Whites Or Blacks. Why?
The tall, gangly man twists a cone of paper in his hands as stories from nearly 30 years of addiction pour out: the robbery that landed him in prison at age 17; never getting his high school equivalency diploma; going through the horrors of detox, maybe 40 times, including this latest bout, which he finished two weeks ago. He’s now in a residential treatment unit for at least 30 days. “I’m a serious addict,” said Julio Cesar Santiago, 44. “I still have dreams where I’m about to use drugs, and I have to wake up and get on my knees and pray, ‘Let God take this away from me,’ because I don’t want to go back. I know that if I go back out there, I’m done.” (Bebinger, 5/17)