A controversial open-air substance abuse center in San Francisco has treated just 18 of the 23,367 drug users who’ve visited, with most instead using it to get high.
Statistics compiled from publicly-available data by local anti-drugs advocate Gina McDonald show that 0.07 per cent of all visitors to the Tenderloin Linkage Center have received medical treatment for substance abuse issues, or referral to rehab.
McDonald, who has co-written an op-ed for DailyMail.com on the issue, said that just five visitors to the Tenderloin Linkage Center had received a link to medically assisted treatment (MAT) between the center’s inception on January 17, and March 27.
MAT involves giving drug addicts access to methadone or suboxone to try and wean them off the illegal substances they’re hooked on.
Meanwhile, another 13 were successfully linked with substance abuse treatment, which offers either detox or residential treatment to those seeking to get off drugs.
McDonald set up Mothers Against Drug Deaths (MADD) after her daughter got hooked on heroin she’d bought off the street, although her daughter has since completed a stint in rehab, and has been clean for four months.
A woman is pictured injecting herself with drugs close to San Francisco’s Tenderloin Linkage Center in January, as one local activist mom branded the facility a flop
Figures compiled by Gina McDonald show that fewer than one in 1,000 visitors to the center have actually received treatment or a referral to rehab
McDonald, pictured earlier this week, helped found Mothers Against Drug Deaths (MADD) after her daughter got hooked on heroin she bought in the street in San Francisco
She set up the group with fellow mom Jacqui Berlinn, whose son Corey still lives on the streets of San Francisco, and is battling a substance issue.
Earlier this week, MADD spent $25,000 to erect a billboard close to the linkage center which says: ‘Famous the world over for our brains, beauty and now, dirt cheap fentanyl.’
And McDonald says she hopes publicizing the drugs market might finally embarrass local officials into action.
She told DailyMail.com: ‘The issue is ridiculous.
‘The linkage center was never intended to be a place where people could come to do drugs, but that is exactly what has happened.
‘It’s dystopian and scary.’ San Francisco’s Democrat Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in the city’s famously sketchy Tenderloin neighborhood in December, in a bid to clean up rampant crime and drug use in the area.
A sign for the Tenderloin Linkage Center, which McDonald says is not being used for its intended purpose, and is instead worsening San Francisco’s drug problem
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
MADD has now erected a $25,000 billboard close to the linkage center in a bid to shame city officials into action
She earmarked $10 million in funds for the project, and said that visitors to the linkage center were not permitted to take illegal drugs.
But McDonald says she’s heard the project has so far cost $19 million, with much of that cash blown on the chaotic linkage center.
And she said that the brazen drug taking of visitors to the linkage center makes a mockery of Breed’s warning.
The campaigner added that there are even separate areas set aside for users to take drugs using their preferred method.
McDonald explained: ‘There’s an outside space which users can access, with tents that have now been put up to stop people from seeing what’s happening.
‘There’s an area for smoking your drugs, a space for injecting drugs, and a space for eating. There are no medical professionals in the vicinity.
‘People are given clean needles to use, but it isn’t a sterile facility, like those you see in New York City.’
San Francisco has seen drug abuse and crime rocket in recent years, with its latest woke attempt to fix the issue now blamed for worsening it
A homeless man smokes on a street close to the Tenderloin Linkage Center in January
Another homeless person is seen doubled over very close to the controversial center
She continued: ‘It was billed as a place for people to come for medical needs and substance abuse treatment. It was never stated that you were going to be able to use in there.’
The linkage center has received public funding and was run initially by the city’s Department of Emergency Management, as well as the Department of Public Health.
It is also managed by a local non profit, HealthRIGHT 360, which has a multi-million dollar contract with the city.
The center’s official website describes it as ‘a safe space for anyone to easily and quickly access San Francisco health and human service resources.’
Services listed on the website include access to breakfast, lunch and dinner, showers, laundry and overdose prevention supplies, as well as methadone and buprenorphine (suboxone) access.
The linkage center also claims to offer employment services, ‘housing and reentry programs for people involved with the justice system’, food stamps and referrals as well as enrollment in substance abuse treatment programs.
Locals say the linkage center has made the squalor even worse on streets surrounding the facility
A man is seen lighting up what appears to be a glass pipe close the the linkage center – with locals saying people are free to use illegal drugs as they please inside the facility itself
But McDonald says her number crunching shows just how poorly the most vital services are being used.
Just days after the linkage center was opened, grim photos were beamed around the world showing users – most of them homeless – injecting drugs in abject squalor.
In 2020, 700 people were killed by overdoses in San Francisco, while 650 died of drug abuse in 2021.
The facility is located in downtown San Francisco, close to the Californian city’s famed Civic Center and Union Square.
The area was once a popular hotspot for tourists, and is still filled with high-end shops and restaurants.
But in recent years it has become increasingly dirty and derelict, with San Francisco’s reputation as a city ruined by crime and woke public policies scaring visitors away.
And the linkage center has itself been blamed for a recent crime spike in the city.
San Francisco Police Department data shows murders are up 20 per cent so-far this year compared to the same period of 2021, from 10 to 12.
Meanwhile, the number of rapes has rocketed by 14 per cent over the same period, with 56 sex attacks this year compared to 49 last year.
Robberies have spiked by seven per cent, from 532 to 569, while larcenies have soared by 28 per cent, from 5,891 to 7,565.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin – notorious for his soft on crime policies – faces a recall election in June, with recent polls suggesting he’ll be booted from office.
DailyMail.com has contacted Mayor London Breed’s office for a comment.