San Francisco gives free drugs, alcohol to homeless quarantining in hotels
San Francisco is giving free drugs and alcohol to some homeless people isolating inside city-rented hotels during the coronavirus pandemic, officials confirmed Wednesday.
The city has handed out either booze, tobacco or medical cannabis to 43 homeless people with addictions to deter them from leaving the hotels and potentially spreading coronavirus, Jenna Lane, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Health, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“They’re doing San Francisco a great service by staying inside,” Lane told the paper. “We’re saying, ‘We’re doing what we can to support you staying inside and not have to go out and get these things.’ ”
The approach is part of a city “harm reduction based practice” not funded with taxpayer money, the health department said on Twitter.
San Francisco is using hotels to house a total of 270 homeless people who have either tested positive for the coronavirus or are highly susceptible to infection. They also usually have no place of their own to properly quarantine, the report said.
The measure uses “the best evidence to help people manage their addictions,” the city’s health director, Dr. Grant Colfax, said at a Wednesday press conference.
“In some cases, this will include helping them manage their alcohol and nicotine use so they can stay safe and in-place as much as possible to help their communities and help themselves.”