CEO Statement


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Of the 7,000 clients HealthRIGHT 360 served in San Francisco in the last year, 1,750 of those clients entered withdrawal management. As a medical and behavioral healthcare provider, each death of a person in our care is a tragedy and resonates deeply within our community. We deeply grieve the recent loss of a beloved client at our residential step-down program at Treasure Island as we await further details from the Medical Examiner.

HealthRIGHT 360’s mission has always been to serve all members of the community, especially vulnerable and medically underserved populations and those at extreme risk for overdose mortality. Amid an ongoing overdose crisis, we remain at the forefront of public health initiatives, providing evidence-based, low-barrier, stigma-free services to people who use drugs.

The individuals who come to us seeking treatment often face multiple co-occurring challenges, including substance use disorder (SUD), mental health diagnoses, and acute or chronic medical conditions. These issues can be compounded by food insecurity, criminalization, and the absence of stable housing. While the complexities are undeniable, they underscore the critical importance of our work, rather than dissuade us.

SUD is a chronic and recurring health condition, and the continued or intermittent use of drugs must be acknowledged as part of the reality of an SUD, even when an individual is actively participating in treatment. Because of how rapidly the body adapts to reduced frequency and quantity of drug exposure, people in treatment are especially vulnerable to overdose. With the increased prevalence of fentanyl in the unregulated drug supply, the risk of people dying from an accidental overdose is significantly higher than ever before – a single return to use can tragically lead to death within minutes. Recognizing this risk, we steadfastly continue to treat clients struggling with symptoms derived from their condition and work to address factors that are an obstacle to living a healthier life.

More than 40 percent of Americans reportedly personally know someone who died of an overdose. Peers and people who work with people who use drugs have undeniably been at the frontlines of the overdose crisis, and staff have borne the brunt of the vicarious trauma. This has exacted a devastating toll on the families and friends of people who use drugs, and on the wellbeing of workers, with significant emotional impacts from witnessing and responding to frequent overdoses, as well as grief from overdose-related deaths in the community. We share in this collective community mourning and remain ever committed to enhancing the health, safety, and quality of life for our staff and for people who use drugs, both within and outside of treatment settings.

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