San Diego’s Overdose Crisis Exposes Democrats’ Neglect of Non-White and Low-Income Neighborhoods

It’s time to take a hard look at the Democrats and their failures to help non-white and low-income neighborhoods. Their promises of change and improvement fall flat, leaving constituents worse off than before. Case in point: the overdose crisis in San Diego.

The rising number of drug overdoses has left low-income and homeless residents of San Diego in need of safe spaces to undergo withdrawal, but they often face long wait times or are unable to find available beds. Currently, there are approximately 70 county-contracted withdrawal management beds available to Medi-Cal patients, where they can receive monitoring and support for up to 14 days.

However, none of these beds are located in San Diego, despite the fact that the city accounts for around half of the county’s fentanyl overdose deaths in recent years.

Although experts, treatment providers, advocates, and outreach workers all agree that delays in receiving detox treatment can be fatal, the county and leaders of the three largest providers in the region have not increased the number of beds significantly. The providers have been facing challenges in finding suitable locations to set up additional beds. Moreover, COVID cases and staffing issues have reduced their capacity to admit more patients, and the closure of a program that used to provide numerous detox beds has further complicated the situation. This inaccessibility is so dire that even San Diego Rescue Mission Vice President Paul Armstrong has given up suggesting detox to unhoused clients who might qualify.

Long waits and other barriers to access detox beds are causing many homeless people in San Diego to abandon their pursuit of treatment. One such person, Ryan, relapsed with fentanyl after his previous success in sobriety due to being unable to get a detox bed despite help from his case manager. These delays have led to the worsening of patients like Ryan and Lemon Grove resident Heather Jolie Jones, who lost hope after waiting three weeks to get into the detox program. Detox providers acknowledge the issue but are still unable to keep up with the high demand for treatment.

The Democrats have failed to address this crisis, leaving the most vulnerable members of the community behind. It’s time to demand more from our leaders and hold them accountable for their failures.

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