Written by Joey Brasil
As we approach the one-year anniversary of living under Gov. Newsom’s lockdown order, many Californians have struggled with mental health and drug abuse. The feeling of being stuck at home without much to do has left many with existing mental health and drug issues at an even worse place in their lives.
Not only has this time been hard for people with existing mental health and addiction issues, but it created those issues for many people who did not suffer from them before.
On top of that, in January, the Democrat-controlled Board of Supervisors decided that a needle exchange program would be beneficial in San Diego County. While this program may help addicts stay disease-free for the short-run, it does not solve the inherent problem of addiction.
Per Jim Desmond, a Republican supervisor, “Giving out needles still has the appearance of promoting drug abuse.” Put simply, it makes no sense to give addicts the tools they need in order to further their addictions. Not only does the needle exchange program enable addicts in our community, but it also creates a desire for addicts in other communities to come to San Diego County and costs taxpayers money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Needle exchange programs may reduce the risk of disease transmission, such as HIV, but they also correlate with a rapid increase in drug overdoses. San Francisco has only seen rising drug usage rates since implementing its needle exchange program, which distributes over 4.4M needles each year.
In California, the amount of drug-related overdose deaths has increased by 50% since 2017. Nationally, it has only increased by 15%. During the same time frame, overdose deaths increased by 541%.
Despite these staggering statistics, Gov. Newsom has shown no interest in rolling back his draconian, dangerous lockdown. In fact, upon hearing that Texas rolled back its COVID-19 restrictions, the governor said the decision was “absolutely reckless” and pledged to not follow in Texas’ footsteps.
“We are encouraging people, basically, to double down on mask-wearing,” he said in a press conference.
As the Democrats continue to come up with ineffective, temporary solutions for the current mental health and drug addiction crisis, drug overdose deaths will continue to rise. Texas, Mississippi, Florida, South Dakota, and other states have reopened for the good of their citizens; it is time California do the same. The effects of Newsom’s pandemic lockdown have claimed enough lives, it does not need to and should not continue.