SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- On Wednesday, the mother of a man struggling with addiction held her own protest on a notorious corner in San Francisco's Tenderloin.
She said she was prepared to stand on the corner by herself. As it turned out, that would not be necessary.
"I used to feel shame," Jackquie Berlinn told the crowd. "I just hide my story out of shame. A few years ago, I realized it wasn't helping me. It wasn't helping my son. And it wasn't helping anybody else on the streets."
Berlinn's son is addicted to fentanyl. He is somewhere on the street in San Francisco. Out of exasperation, she came to Turk and Hyde to ask for help.
"I've talked to parents who are in other states," she says. "Their children come to San Francisco because they know how easy it is to use and get drugs."
It is a crisis that is building a coalition of the exasperated, and many of them showed up today. It was a collection of residents and politicians that often don't agree on much of anything. On this topic, they share frustration.
"Every single elected official, supervisors, there are two here, should be here," shouted Supervisor Matt Haney. "The mayor should be here. The DA should be here."
"We need bipartisan participation," said Adam Mesnick. "We need the leaders to admit that addiction is a problem."
There was venting and some arguing, but everyone here agreed the status quo has failed and that there's momentum for change in the direction of compassion and accountability.
"We can provide them with services and do whatever we can to turn them away from drug dealing going forward," said recovery advocate Thomas Wolf. "But we need to have meaningful sanctions put in place, which means we need the cooperation of our District Attorney."
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