“And quite frankly, what San Francisco’s doing is not a safe consumption site at the Tenderloin Center. For lack of a better term, it’s opium den, where people can sit in Adirondack chairs and shoot dope all day. They’re monitored by a nonprofit worker that was given ten minutes of training on how to administer Narcan.”
As for whether addicts are availing themselves of services at Tenderloin Center, Wolf said, they are not.
“Forty thousand people have gone to that Tenderloin Center in the last month, and they linked less than half a percent of those people to treatment,” he said. “I don’t know what kind of weird experiment San Francisco is doing right now, but I promise you that that’s not helping anybody find recovery.”
Instead of fostering wellness, the center seems to be metastasizing the problem, the addiction spilling into the streets. I am going to do my best to not put too fine a point on this, to not illustrate what is happening within a few feet of Sandberg and me in a way that makes you think I am trying to win you to one side or another, but if you will, here is the scene: A young man stands in front of us babbling for ten minutes, wanting us to buy a vape pen or to have sex, it’s unclear which. A toothless woman screams. A legless man lights a pipe. Tourists photograph each other with City Hall in the middle distance, and a woman with a leg cast encrusted in grime rolls past. It’s not possible to tell how old she is: thirty? Fifty? She has no possessions that I can see, and no destination, rolling in a desultory manner toward and then away from several men also in wheelchairs, one whose foot is so badly infected my groin contracts and feels flash-burned.
Once again, we see a leftist policy that is allegedly based on good intentions (help addicts be safe and give them access to treatment) end up in utter failure and making the problem worse. These policies are rooted in a fantasy version of the human condition instead of the real world.
I’ve known my fair share of addicts. I have lost family members to addiction. Many of us have. And there is a truth to addiction… enablement just makes it worse. They have to hit a bottom before they will seek treatment. Often times that bottom is losing their marriage, job, or home. Sometimes it is going to jail where they have an opportunity to truly detox and get treatment. But offering an addict a “safe place” to indulge their demons with no consequences will always end up just like it did in San Francisco.
It’s cruel. It’s cruel to the addicts and it’s cruel to the people who have to suffer from the crime and disease that radiates out from them.