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Wealth & Poverty Review The Homelessness Crisis is a Drug Addiction Crisis

Over the weekend, I stumbled upon Michael Shellenberger, an author and journalist who just released a new book titled, San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, in which he explores why progressive policies have failed the homeless in the foggy California city. But Shellenberger is no partisan talking head with an agenda. He has worked extensively on behalf of progressive efforts in the past.

He writes:

For most of my adult life, I was sympathetic to the progressive liberalization agenda. In the late 1990s, I worked with organizations funded by George Soros and others to decriminalize drugs, give clean needles to addicts to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS, and subsidize housing for the homeless. But as drug deaths rose, and the drug-fueled homeless problem worsened, I decided to take a closer look at the problem.

What I discovered shocked me. Rather than arresting hard drug users when they break laws, and giving them the choice of jail or drug treatment, the only strategy proven to work, the city of San Francisco provides addicts with the cash, housing and drug paraphernalia they need to purchase and use deadly drugs. 

Michael Shellenberger, “More Black Americans Died from San Francisco’s Drug Experiment in One Year than Died from the Tuskegee Experiment in 40 years,” at Substack

The proper approach to homelessness is not the only issue Shellenberger has changed his mind on. He is most famously known for his perspective on the environment after publishing Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. He now advocates for nuclear energy.

In an interview with Megyn Kelly about his newest book exploring San Francisco’s homelessness and drug crises, Shellenberger argues that the homelessness crisis is a drug crisis:

The word “homeless” is really a propaganda word designed to trick your brain into thinking that this is a problem of poverty. And progressives have done a real disservice to people suffering from addiction by mis-describing them as people that are somehow suffering from high rents. I found exactly zero people living on the street who were on the street because they just couldn’t afford the rent. If you can’t afford the rent, you move out of state, as hundreds of thousands of people have done in California. You move in with friends and family. If you’re a proverbial mother escaping an abusive husband, we have solutions for that person. We do a good job taking care of that person. The people living on the street are suffering from severe addiction. When you ask social service workers how many of the people, they say things like a hundred percent.

I highly encourage you to read his Substack article, “More Black Americans Died from San Francisco’s Drug Experiment in One Year than Died from the Tuskegee Experiment in 40 years.”

Below is an excerpt from his interview with Megyn Kelly. You can watch the entire show by clicking here.

Caitlin Cory

Communications Coordinator, Discovery Institute
Caitlin Cory is the Communications Coordinator for Discovery Institute. She has previously written for Discovery on the topics of homelessness and mental illness, as well as on Big Tech and its impact on human freedom. Caitlin grew up in the Pacific Northwest, graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor's in Politics and Policy, and now lives in Maryland with her husband.