Mayor London Breed Announces Opening of First Drug Sobering Center in San Francisco
SoMa RISE Center is part of the City’s response to support residents with substance use dependency
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) today announced the opening of San Francisco’s first drug sobering center. The SoMa RISE (Recover, Initiate, Support, and Engagement) Center at 1076 Howard Street in the South of Market neighborhood, is a safe indoor space for people who are intoxicated with opioids, methamphetamines, or other substances to come in off the streets, rest and stabilize, and get connected to care and services.
SoMa RISE is part of the City’s response to the drug overdose crisis and aims to save lives from overdose deaths and reduce public drug use, while prioritizing support for people experiencing homelessness who have substance use dependency. The center will support up to 20 participants at a time with some flexibility. Most individuals seeking care are anticipated to stay 4 to 12 hours, during which time they can rest, stabilize, and access basic services like clean bathrooms, showers, beds, and a meal.
“Our city is experiencing a substance use and mental health crisis that is sadly affecting far too many residents,” said Mayor Breed. “As we continue to address the challenges on our streets, we need to do all that we can to focus our resources and our efforts on those who need it most. The opening of the SoMa RISE Center will not only provide a safe space for individuals in need, but it brings us one step closer to making a difference in these people’s lives and the lives of all San Franciscans.
Serving the South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods, SoMa RISE will initially be staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. by health and safety workers who are trained in Narcan/Naloxone administration. As the Center continues to ramp up, operating hours will scale to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At SoMa RISE, the program is voluntary and participants are accepted on a walk-in basis or by transport from street outreach teams, such as the Street Crisis Response Team (SCRT) or the Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT). SoMa RISE serves as a first link to support and assist participants ready for withdrawal management and other services.
“We are pleased to have SoMa RISE completed and added to our city’s expanding network of low-barrier services that support people with mental health and substance use disorders who are unhoused or marginally housed,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, the Director of Health. “We know that people who use drugs often want a safe place to go, off the streets, and this center will support their immediate needs while providing opportunities to take the next steps toward wellness.”
While SoMa RISE was originally conceived as a key recommendation of the City’s Methamphetamine Task Force in 2019, the large numbers of drug overdoses in recent years caused by the arrival of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl have given new urgency to the need for the center. The South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods have the City’s highest overdose rates, predominantly among individuals who are experiencing homelessness, and SoMa RISE will help address this crisis. The space is tobacco, alcohol, and drug-free and is designed to support residents with substance use issues who need a safe place to sober up.
“Opening a sobering center was the top recommendation of the Methamphetamine Task Force I co-chaired in 2019, and I am glad to see that recommendation become a reality with today’s opening of the SoMa RISE sobering center,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “This is an important milestone in the City’s efforts to address the addiction crisis on our streets, and I look forward to continued partnership with the Mayor and Department of Public Health to accelerate our progress.”
“San Francisco must listen to the needs of its residents and immediately help our most vulnerable populations, especially those struggling on the path to recovery,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey. “As the number of overdoses and drug-related deaths continue to rise, SoMa RISE will be a crucial facility to provide much-needed services to these individuals, and ultimately be a place that many will build brighter futures for themselves.”
HealthRIGHT 360 will run daily operations at the SoMa RISE Center with oversight by SFDPH. Staff will be onsite every day to monitor and engage with guests. Participants may also engage in peer counseling about health, housing, recovery, and wellness. Upon leaving, participants will be connected and transported to their next step service destinations, including withdrawal management, residential treatment, and supportive housing. HealthRIGHT 360 is a non-profit community provider of residential and outpatient service for health care, mental health, and substance use disorder services.
“SoMa RISE is a critical response to the current drug crisis that addresses a very clear need. By providing a safe and welcoming space that gives people a place to go that is off the streets while they’re in crisis, we are able to help them stabilize and connect them to care and services. SoMa RISE helps builds connections with clients and will be an entry point for people to get connected to other care services like substance use treatment, mental health services, and housing. We are proud to be involved in this project and believe that it will improve outcomes for those that need help the most,” said Vitka Eisen, President and CEO of HealthRIGHT 360.
Under Mayor Breed’s leadership, the City is focused on addressing substance use, mental health, and homelessness. The SoMa RISE Center will be evaluated and use of the center will be tracked by SFDPH, furthering the City’s efforts to ensure programs are working and improve services as needed. The site will also host DPH administrative offices.
San Francisco has devoted significant resources to creating low-barrier programs that are easily accessible to people experiencing homelessness. Sobering centers provide an alternative approach to law enforcement and reduce unnecessary emergency department visits and hospital stays.
For video and photos of the SoMa RISE Center please see link here.