San Francisco Mayor Proposes Drug Testing for Homeless Services Access

( – In a development that many conservatives have been calling for nationally for decades, San Francisco’s Democrat mayor has put forward a proposal that would require welfare recipients in the county to submit to mandatory drug screening. While the policy would not affect the homeless population exclusively, it is widely interpreted as a means of dealing with the area’s escalating vagrancy crisis.

Should the proposal eventually become law, those on the government dole would be required to provide a clean drug test before receiving their payouts. Those who test positive would not necessarily be abandoned by the state altogether, but they would be required to enter a treatment program.

Some have suggested that London Breed’s September 26 announcement was made for reasons of politics rather than ethics. Critics have noted that a primary challenger entered the mayoral race on the same day and others have said that her move was an act of desperation. “She’s in trouble,” former SF councilman Tony Hall said.

Hall said Breed is “under” intense “fire from” area “voters” who are fed up with the byproducts of the city’s homelessness epidemic, like surging crime and open-air drug use. He appeared to suggest that the mayor was playing a game of bait and switch by “trying to” look “like a conservative.” Even if Breed’s proposal passes, Hall doubts that authorities will enforce the law behind it.

Though the numbers can fluctuate somewhat from year to year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 26% of homeless individuals are chronic alcohol abusers and as many as 38% have a chronic drug habit.

As much as 30% of the nation’s homeless population calls California home, despite the state only accounting for about 12% of the total national population. Many attribute the statistic to California’s generous entitlement policies and to the fact that many jurisdictions cannot force homeless individuals off certain properties.

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