Sunday 21 April 2024

Nearly 10 million lethal doses of fentanyl seized in San Francisco

 The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has announced the results of a major operation that spanned a 10-block radius in the Tenderloin neighborhood in northeastern San Francisco. According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the amount of fentanyl seized in the operation is equal to nearly 10 million lethal doses.

Additionally, CHP issued 6,044 citations, which ultimately led to 496 arrests. Fifteen firearms were also recovered.

"These results are a testament to the effective collaboration among state, local, and federal law enforcement in San Francisco. We will continue to work together to get drugs off our streets, address crime and make our communities safer," Newsom said in a statement.  

However, these results also reflect how big the drug trafficking industry has become in San Francisco.

CHP officers began deploying to the Tenderloin in May of 2023 with a focus on improving public safety, targeting fentanyl trafficking, disrupting fentanyl supply and busting drug trafficking rings. The Tenderloin operation is part of Gov. Newsom’s broader plan for tackling the fentanyl and opioid crisis, officials said.

A similar joint operation cracking down on fentanyl smuggling led to around 200 arrests and the recovery of more than 400 stolen vehicles since February.

Just 2 mg of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose

Exposure to just two milligrams worth of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Tom Wolf, a recovery advocate who used to be a homeless drug addict living in San Francisco's streets, knows all too well how dangerous fentanyl can be

In 2018, he was living in the streets of San Francisco and hooked on both heroin and fentanyl, leading to his arrest.

"It’s a struggle because you’ll basically do anything to feed that addiction," said Wolf, who applauded the CHP's operation but stressed that treating addiction is just as important as preventing the spread of fentanyl.

"In June, I'll have six months clean and sober and that's because I was held accountable," said Wolf. "I had to go to jail for a few months, and then I went to a six-month residential treatment program."

Wolf now works with the Salvation Army's transitional housing program as a consultant helping people battle addiction. He represents a good example of a former drug addict who turned his life around.

"We just need to stop this revolving door that we have of organized drug dealers that keep being arrested and then getting released to pretrial diversion, and then they head right back out on the street to sell drugs," said Wolf.

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