Newsom Will Deploy National Guard To Combat Fentanyl Crisis

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has announced he will deploy the National Guard to combat San Francisco’s fentanyl trafficking crisis.

Newsom is working with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California National Guard, San Francisco’s Police Department (SFPD), and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to put an end to the crisis that is harming the city, which has one of the highest homeless populations in the U.S.

Newsom said his focus is on “dismantling fentanyl trafficking and disrupting the supply of the deadly drug in the city by holding the operations of large-scale drug trafficking operations accountable.”

“We’re taking action,” he said. “Through this new collaborative partnership, we are providing more law enforcement resources and personnel to crack down on crime linked to the fentanyl crisis, holding the poison peddlers accountable, and increasing law enforcement presence to improve public safety and public confidence in San Francisco.”

In a press release, Newsom compared his state to Florida and Texas, saying that San Francisco’s violent crime rate is less than cities such as Jacksonville and Fort Worth.

“Two truths can co-exist at the same time: San Francisco’s violent crime rate is below comparably sized cities like Jacksonville [Florida] and Fort Worth [Texas] — and there is also more we must do to address public safety concerns, especially the fentanyl crisis,” he said.

SFPD Chief Bill Scott assured residents that the city is taking action to remove fentanyl off the streets.

“We make arrests day in and day out, but it’s really hard to hold ground, and we need to get it under control, and that’s exactly what we plan to do. So we are going to do it in a San Francisco way with San Francisco values, but the help is much needed,” Scott said.

Newsom, however, explained that the effort would be not to criminalize people with substance abuse issues but instead focus on drug suppliers and traffickers.
San Francisco’s fentanyl crisis heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 600 accidental drug overdose deaths in 2021. So far, in 2023, there have been 200 deaths.

“The city’s drug crisis is more fatal than COVID-19. San Francisco has become synonymous with open-air drug markets and increasing rates of fentanyl addiction,” wrote TogetherSF Action, a civic engagement group. “The drug crisis is wreaking havoc.”