Today, Mayor London N. Breed announced that San Francisco has been selected to receive a grant of $2.25 million per year over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program. The grant to the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) will help strengthen the City’s overdose prevention work and reduce overdose-related harms.
The introduction of fentanyl in the illegal drug supply has driven the number of overdose deaths in San Francisco and the nation to crisis levels. Preliminary data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner through July shows that approximately 80% of drug overdoses in the City involve fentanyl. African Americans make up more than 30% of those deaths although they represent less than 6% of the City’s population. SFDPH will use the grant funding to develop partnerships involving the public health and behavioral health sectors, local health systems, community-based organizations, and public safety entities, and ensure data are used to advance evidence-based programs that can save lives.
“The City’s overdose prevention plan is addressing disparities that exist in overdoses and how our diverse communities are disproportionately affected by drug use,”said Mayor London Breed. “This is a crisis that goes well beyond our City borders, and we thank the CDC and our federal partners for supporting efforts here and across the country to tackle this public health crisis.”
The CDC’s OD2A grant program plays a vital role in advancing the nation’s response to the opioid epidemic. OD2A supports jurisdictions to implement prevention activities and to collect accurate, comprehensive, and timely data on nonfatal and fatal overdoses. With this grant, San Francisco will be able to strengthen its community-based efforts to help navigate people through recovery.
Key elements of SFDPH’s use of this grant will include:
- Enhancing substance use and overdose prevention coordination
- Supporting peer overdose prevention champions in Black/African American organizations
- Expanding the role of substance use navigators to connect people to care across seven San Francisco hospital emergency departments, and community-based treatment programs
- Increasing overdose prevention activities and resources in supportive housing
- Scaling up overdose prevention and surveillance activities and ensuring data are used in a timely and responsive manner
The grant funding will complement and build upon the City’s current programs to prevent overdoses. San Francisco is working rapidly to respond to overdoses by:
- Increasing access to vital medications for addiction treatment, including buprenorphine and methadone
- Expanding hours at SFDPH pharmacies and clinics
- Using mobile clinics and care teams to visit neighborhoods with high rates of overdose and offering treatment to people living in supportive housing
- Increasing special addiction care teams that help find the right path of recovery for individuals
- Increasing naloxone distribution throughout the City. From January through June 2023, SFDPH and community partners distributed more than 73,000 doses of naloxone, the life-saving antidote to opioid overdoses, including fentanyl overdoses.
“No one should die from a drug overdose in San Francisco and we know community- based strategies are successful,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “Working with San Francisco hospital emergency departments and community-based organizations to guide people towards recovery is crucial. This funding will also support Black/African American organizations as we work to reduce the impact of overdoses on the Black/African American community.”
“We are thrilled to award this grant to San Francisco and support their continued effort to prevent drug overdoses,” said CDC Division of Overdose Prevention Director Grant Baldwin, PhD, MPH. “Through the OD2A program, CDC is empowering jurisdictions with the necessary tools and resources to collect, analyze and use data to inform prevention activities that make a significant impact in communities.”
Mayor Breed’s new budget includes investments to help those struggling with homelessness and mental illness and/or substance used disorder, and an increased focus on abstinence-based programs to work alongside expanded harm reduction efforts for those most at risk of overdose. The budget will continue efforts launched more recently, including the ongoing expansion of 400 new treatment beds, implementation of Mental Health SF, funding for overdose prevention services in high-risk settings such as single-room occupancy hotels (SRO), addiction care specialists in the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and street outreach work.
The budget builds on these programs with new efforts in key areas, including expanding contingency management programs which are particularly effective for those who use stimulants and launching CARE Court implementation next month.
Learn more about San Francisco’s overdose prevention work at sf.gov/overdose-prevention.