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Gavin Newsom directs California National Guard to battle San Francisco fentanyl crisis

The city, which had the second-highest overdose rate in the United States in 2021, has seen a more than 40% leap in overdose deaths from January through March 2023 alone.

Published: April 23, 2023 10:17am

California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom is directing his state's National Guard and highway patrol to help San Francisco officials combat the fentanyl crisis that is wreaking havoc on the city.

"We’re taking action," Newsom said Friday. "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."

The city, which had the second-highest overdose rate in the United States in 2021, has seen a more than 40% leap in overdose deaths from January through March 2023 alone, the governor's office stated. Many of the overdose deaths were caused by the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Newsom directed the CalGuard to identify resources to support analysis of trafficking operations, and specifically focus on disrupting trafficking rings. 

"Two truths can co-exist at the same time: San Francisco’s violent crime rate is below comparably sized cities like Jacksonville and Fort Worth — and there is also more we must do to address public safety concerns, especially the fentanyl crisis," Newsom also said, specifically taking aim at cities with Republican mayors.

Notably, Fort Worth's violent crime rate is virtually the same as San Francisco's and Jacksonville's is slightly higher, but the California city's property crime rate is nearly twice that of the GOP-run cities, making San Francisco rank as having far more crime than the other two cities, according to Neighborhood Scout.

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