Tara Stamos-Buesig (right) from the Harm Reduction Coalition gives Narcan Nasal Spray to Victoria Secretos, 33 years old who is unhoused in downtown on Nov. 11, 2022.
Tara Stamos-Buesig (left) of the Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego gives Narcan Nasal Spray, which can reverse opioid overdoses, to Victoria Secretos, 33, in downtown San Diego on Nov. 11, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

A fentanyl epidemic that’s hammering San Diego has been particularly devastating for the county’s homeless population.

Data from the County Medical Examiner’s Office reveals more than 200 homeless San Diegans died of overdoses involving fentanyl last year and preliminary data for the first quarter of 2022 showed fentanyl deaths among unhoused residents were up 23 percent from the same period last year.

The opioid painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine contributed to 814 deaths countywide last year – and a quarter of those who passed away were homeless, our Lisa Halverstadt reports.

Homeless residents told Halverstadt they have become accustomed to fentanyl overdoses and deaths in their midst. Fentanyl is everywhere and often shows up in other drugs. Some are now stockpiling opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone – best known as Narcan – that’s now being regularly distributed by a county contractor so they can save others on the street.

Read the full story here.

Politics Report: Measure B Passed. Now What? 

It’s hard to overstate how big of a deal it is that Measure B passed in the city of San Diego. 

For years, people talked about getting rid of the People’s Ordinance. And for years, people rolled their eyes. But now, it has happened. 

San Diego voters have agreed to let the city study and implement a special fee for trash collection. As it stands, if you can get your trash into a city bin and out to a city-owned street, the city will take it.

Well, don’t expect a fee anytime soon. The Politics Report nerds get into that and more in the latest newsletter. Read that here. 

Hungry for more politics? In the latest VOSD Podcast episode, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discuss big election updates. They also get into the ongoing homelessness crisis. Listen to that episode here. 

Newsom to Unleash State Homelessness Funds

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to members of the media at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Nov. 3, 2022.
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to members of the media at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Nov. 3, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Gov. Gavin Newsom agreed to release hundreds of millions of dollars in state homelessness funds – including tens of millions for San Diego – after a Friday sit down with local government leaders.

Mayor Todd Gloria went into the Sacramento meeting with a plan to urge the governor to quickly unleash state Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program funds he held back earlier this month and to demand the bolder goals he sought in the next funding round.

Gloria appeared to get his wish. Newsom’s office said in a late Friday statement he had “challenged local leaders to submit more ambitious plans for their next round of funding.”

Gloria tweeted after the meeting that he appreciated the frank discussion and outcome of the meeting.

“We started a dialogue on actions that will get more homeless into housing and the state released the funds cities like San Diego use to power our outreach, shelter and housing programs,” Gloria wrote.

Gloria’s office said the mayor also used the opportunity to emphasize the asks he and 10 other California mayors flagged for Newsom in a letter last week, including permanent and increased state homelessness funding to allow for more long-term planning and improved outcomes.

In Other News

  • In a new op-ed for Voice of San Diego, Audie de Castro, an attorney, makes the case that the city’s new district elections allowed for more diverse candidates. De Castro had previously argued to city leaders that National City’s city-wide election system marginalized its Filipino and API residents.
  • KPBS reports that women in law enforcement continue to deal with sexist comments and harassment in local police departments. 
  • The city’s Audit Committee on Friday directed City Councilman Stephen Whitburn’s office to work with city staff, including police, to craft proposed changes to the city’s towing program following an audit that revealed the disproportionate impact city tows have on vulnerable San Diegans.
  • Oceanside sea lions are angry. The Union-Tribune details why boaters are worried and why these animals could be acting out.

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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