SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco’s District Attorney’s office will be asking City Hall for $ 2.3 million in the funding of a new task force. District attorney, Chesa Boudin, plans to use the funding to pay the salaries of this task force and will concentrate on solving the city’s fentanyl crisis after the number of Fentanyl deaths continue to rise. Close to 700 deaths can be attributed to fentanyl in 2020 with 61 new deaths occurring in January.

This funding would coincide with San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney’s supplemental budget package that will be introduced in March. The package’s sole focus is to tackle the current fentanyl crisis.

Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I had been asking the DA for what their strategy was, and it became clear that they really needed a unit that could focus on this specifically — to respond in more strategic and coordinated ways.” Haney represents the Tenderloin district of San Francisco which has been hit the hardest by the fentanyl crisis. In 2019, there were 441 deaths attributed to fentanyl which has increased year by year but has significantly risen during COVID. 

Boudin told the Chronicle that the goal of the task force is to disrupt the cycle of recidivism by rooting out the sources of the city’s drug supplies. The task force will consist of six prosecutors, two investigators and two “sentencing planners”, who will focus on creating specific and individualized punishments. “We need to be innovative, and we need to be determined to intervene in ways that can save lives and end the devastating loss of life that’s directly impacting our most vulnerable community,” Boudin said.

The budget will require approval from the rest of the board of supervisors once it is introduced in March in order to move forward.