San Francisco’s notorious taxpayer-funded open-air drugs market will close at the end of the year – after the facility that’s said to have cost $19m in taxpayer cash treated just one in every 1,000 users and failed to cut fatal overdose numbers.
The Linkage Center in the Tenderloin, at the heart of San Francisco’s civic center, opened in January and was intended to help the city’s large population of homeless people and drug addicts to find help.
But critics say the site, rented at a cost of $75,000 a month, has failed to curtail the problem in the crime-ridden city, which recently recalled its woke DA Chesa Boudin amid a spike in crimes blamed for a sharp decline in locals’ quality of life.
They note that only 0.1 percent of those using the site were directed to treatment in the first five months, despite the estimated $19 million spent in running costs.
Between January and April, just 18 of the 23,367 drug users who visited the site were referred for treatment.
Furthermore, the rate of fatal overdoses has not declined in a meaningful way: in January the office of the chief medical examiner reported 49 deaths, and last month there were 45.
And the center even went on to quietly drop the word ‘linkage’ from its title, because so few of the drug abusers who visited were being linked to any meaningful form of help.
San Francisco has become a drug-abusing Wild West with syringes littering pavements and drug dealers, selling heroin or the deadly opioid fentanyl, easily recognizable dressed in black with matching backpacks.Above: a person in a wheelchair shoots up, just outside the Linkage Center on January 22
Gary McCoy, the scandal-hit vice president of public affairs and policy at non-profit HealthRIGHT 360, which runs the site, insisted the mayor’s decision would increase overdose deaths.
On Thursday, he tweeted: ‘Despite success in connecting with the hardest to reach folks we’ve failed for decades, this will certainly send folks back into the streets, parks, and isolation w/ increased risk of OD.
‘If we won’t continue to fund this model, I hope we’ve increased $$ for the Medical Examiner.’
McCoy, a former congressional aide to Nancy Pelosi, was previously accused of misleading city officials about what was going on at the facility.
City health chiefs suggested McCoy – who says he lived in the streets while battling addiction in his 20s – made up numbers to keep taxpayer cash flowing into the squalid money pit.
Gary McCoy, of San Francisco nonprofit HealthRIGHT 360, has been accused of making up the number of people seeking help at the city’s open air drug market by city officials
Part of the linkage center is pictured behind screens in January.It was never intended as an area for drug users to get high – but thousands of them are now doing exactly that
Drone footage shot in January shows San Francisco’s homeless and drug addicted population inside the center, which is estimated to have consumed much of the $10 million set aside to tackle crime in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood
Residents claim that DA Boudin’s policies have made the liberal California enclave – which has seen vagrancy and crime rates soar in recent months – an increasingly unsafe place to live
San Francisco is now blighted by rampant open-air drug abuse, car break-ins, aggressive shoplifting, homeless encampments and fouling of pavements with human excrement