California Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed the National Guard and California Highway Patrol to help combat San Francisco’s fentanyl trafficking crisis.
On Friday, Newsom announced an effort to have both agencies assist local authorities to address the rise in fentanyl use.
The agreement will focus on “dismantling fentanyl trafficking and disrupting the supply of the deadly drug in the city by holding the operators of large-scale drug trafficking operations accountable,” the Democratic governor’s office said.
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“Two truths can co-exist at the same time: San Francisco’s violent crime rate is below comparably sized cities like Jacksonville [Florida] and Fort Worth [Texas] — and there is also more we must do to address public safety concerns, especially the fentanyl crisis,” said Newsom in a news release.
CHP will assist the San Francisco Police Department by assigning personnel and training, drug trafficking enforcement within certain areas of the city, specifically the Tenderloin area.
The National Guard, or CalGuard, has been directed by Newsom to identify personnel and resources that will help dismantle fentanyl trafficking rings.
The city’s Tenderloin neighborhood has been called the epicenter of the region’s homelessness and drug crisis.
In 2021, Mayor London Breed issued a state of emergency for the neighborhood in an effort to address drug overdose deaths. The city saw a 40% jump in overdose deaths from January through March.
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San Francisco had the second-highest overdose rate in the nation along with the second-highest death rate from fentanyl overdose in 2020, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.