California sober center aiding in recovery leads to concerns


(NewsNation) — A recent attempt to help people struggling with addiction has led some San Francisco residents to take up arms, but the health department called the city’s new sobering center a success.

“We never had the kind of fentanyl and drug dealers and drug addicts problems in this neighborhood until this opened,” said longtime business owner and resident Mark Sackett.

Sackett said he’s concerned about the new drug sobering center that opened on his street.

The facility — Soma Rise Center — welcomes people struggling with addiction to opioids, methamphetamine and other substances and gives them a place to rest, sober up and receive services.

But Sackett says the center’s presence has stirred up anxiety among some residents.

“All of my employees carry pepper spray and Tasers,” Sackett said. “The neighbors are carrying pepper spray and Tasers. I mean, this is not how we’re supposed to live. It’s not our responsibility.”

Sackett said neighbors have complained but said the center hasn’t been responsive. Soma Rise didn’t respond to NewsNation’s requests for comment.

According to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the facility has been successful, taking in more than 1,000 people and providing them life-saving medications and in some cases, taking them off the streets.

The health department also says the sobering center was strongly supported by neighbors when it was first introduced as a potential solution to the drug overdose crisis in San Francisco.

In the three months since opening, the city says it’s met with neighbors in the community three times and has made adjustments in response to their suggestions.

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