Drugs Home Page
The most immediately striking feature of San Francisco's
drug problem is its large but greatly overtaxed treatment system. The
magnitude of San Francisco's drug problem can be seen in the health
outcomes section of this website: poisonings (most of which due
to illicit drugs, alone or in combination alcohol) are the sixth leading
cause of years of life lost. In fact, San Francisco
has the highest drug-related death rate of all the counties in California.
The drug-related death rate in San Francisco is double that of
California (see SF-CA
comparisons page). In addition, illicit drug
use contributes to violence, HIV infection, and other health problems
in San Francisco. (See also the Downstream page.)
During 2003-4, opiates accounted
for a third of the substances treated in San Francisco's substance abuse
system; alcohol accounted for 23%; cocaine for 22%, methamphetamine
11%, and marijuana 9%. These patterns tend to shift over time, and we
know from national data that we are probably treating less than half
of the problem. Currently, San Francisco is in the midst of a methamphetamine
epidemic that is increasing the number of new cases of sexually-transmitted
diseases, including HIV.
A substance abuse prevention plan,
which will build upon the Department of Public Health's Prevention
Strategic Plan, will be completed in 2006.