Outrage at Governor Newsom’s decision to veto SB 57, landmark overdose prevention bill
The Safer Inside coalition denounces the decision by Governor Newsom to turn his back on the drug overdose crisis and Californians dying from fatal overdose.
SAN FRANCISCO, August 22, 2022–Today, the Safer Inside Coalition denounces Governor Gavin Newsom’s shocking decision to veto SB 57 (introduced by Senator Scott Wiener), which if passed would have allowed overdose prevention programs to operate in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco.
California has seen a spike in fatal overdose deaths in recent years. In 2021, approximately 10,000 Californians lost their lives to drug overdose, with 640 fatal overdoses in San Francisco alone. Overdose prevention program sites are healthcare facilities with trained staff available to respond in the advent of an overdose. To date, there have been zero fatal overdoses at any of the more than 150 overdose prevention program sites world-wide.
“We are outraged and frustrated by the political move Governor Newsom has made in vetoing SB 57,” said Tyler TerMeer, PhD, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Governor Newsom is turning his back on his constituents and on the overdose crisis affecting every corner of our state and our nation. We are losing our friends, our family members, and our loved ones. We need our leaders in government to step up and implement solutions that will save lives.”
“HealthRIGHT 360 is extremely disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto Senate Bill 57, which authorizes Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco to pilot Overdose Prevention Programs. As we observe Overdose Awareness Month when we continue to remember so many lives of family members and friends lost to overdose, one of the greatest most immediate actions Governor Newsom could have taken to honor those lives and address the national overdose crisis is to sign SB 57 into law.” stated Vitka Eisen, CEO, HealthRIGHT 360. “Instead, Governor Newsom has chosen politics over saving lives.”
"GLIDE is deeply disappointed that SB 57 will not be a reality in California," says Miguel Bustos, Senior Director of GLIDE's Center for Social Justice. "Despite an overwhelming and undeniable supportive body of evidence, overdose prevention programs outlined in this bill would have helped address the overdose crisis by linking people who use drugs to treatment and holistic care. GLIDE will continue to do all it can to advocate for evidence-based solutions to San Francisco’s and California's overdose crisis. We believe people's lives are worth saving."
“People will continue to die of reversible overdose as long as substance use disorders are attributed to a moral failing rather than illness,” said Lydia Bransten, Executive Director of The Gubbio Project. “I am disappointed that Governor Newsom has chosen to ignore the data, the medical professionals, treatment specialists, and people using drugs, vetoing this life-saving tool.”
SB 57 garnered broad support in the two years before reaching Governor Newsom’s desk. Co-sponsoring organizations include the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives, California Society of Addiction Medicine, GLIDE, HealthRIGHT 360, the National Harm Reduction Coalition, Tarzana Treatment Centers, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Prior to the Governor’s veto, a broad base of editorial boards from California media outlets expressed support for SB 57, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, and the Los Angeles Times.