Last updated: September 25, 2023
The city of Oakland, California is seeing an increase in tourists that aren’t welcome there. Despite that fact, city officials have given over an area of the city to them. It’s known as Fentanyl Island and is being overrun by homeless drug addicts. According to reports, the population has more than doubled in less than a decade. Worse, it has become a destination point for addicts all over the country who no longer have a place to live.
Some fear that the only way they ever plan on leaving Fentanyl Island is if—or, more aptly, perhaps, when— they overdose. The siege has put Oakland in a state of social and economic decline. As a result, many area residents are choosing to move out of the state completely. The same goes for businesses. And, subsequently, sports teams are pulling out too. The Oakland Athletics, best known as the A’s, are moving to Las Vegas. This marks the 3rd major sports team to leave the area in the past five years due in part to the economic and social decline.
With city government seemingly bending to the problem and tolerating the influx, it appears there is no end in sight. Area convenience store owners are being broken into repeatedly. Owners complain that when the police finally arrive they do a minimal investigation at best and the criminals are rarely apprehended. Unable to afford to pick up and move their businesses to a new area, they are struggling to stay afloat.
It’s not just Oakland
Businesses are leaving San Francisco and other cities across the state as well. Many retail chains have closed stores in California due to escalating crime and increased drug use.
- Amazon Go
- Banana Republic
- Crate & Barrel
- Office Depot
- Old Navy
- Saks off 5th
- The Container Store
- The RealReal
- Whole Foods
Worse, large companies are pulling up stakes and moving to other parts of the country as well.
The list includes:
Between January 1 2018 and December 31, 2021, 352 companies moved their headquarters out of the state with half of them leaving during 2021. We’re near the last quarter of 2023 at the time of this writing. It’s safe to say that the list of companies that have left California has grown exponentially over the past two years.
Will moving make a difference?
The addicted and homeless population growth is not confined to California by any means. Other cities across the nation are experiencing a growth of homeless, drug-addicted residents. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for example, is plagued by the zombie drug. Tranq addicts wander the streets in a daze. Their zombie-like state is even more pronounced if the grotesque skin ulcers, caused by the drug, are exposed to view.
Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California, attributes the rise in homeless populations—and drug addiction alike—to be due to a series of failed policies that California officials, both city and state, put into place. These policies seemingly enable the addicted and homeless rather than actually helping them. He issued a warning to the rest of the country, saying, “We see many of the failed policies in San Francisco now being implemented in cities across the state as liberal politicians take control in more regions. We need to warn voters what will happen if they allow their city to embrace the same policies that led to San Francisco’s decline.”
With drugs consistently coming into the U.S. across the open border, it’s no wonder that the addiction problem continues to grow. People are anxious due to the current state of the world at large and many turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope. Others are struggling to make ends meet due to the growing inflation rate and find themselves homeless and hopeless.
We need to find a way to break this cycle.
Help flip the switch
Fentanyl Island may not have many children living there, but there’s no doubt that fentanyl is being marketed to children. Colorful, emoji-shaped pills of the stuff are being sold on the streets in an attempt to appeal to younger age groups. We can’t help but wonder if that’s due to the fact that it’s killing people at a rapid rate and the cartels are trying to stay one step ahead of their deadly game.
We must start educating our children about the dangers of drug use and addiction earlier than ever before. Giving them information and ensuring that it’s okay to stand against the crowd can give them the tools they need to choose to live a drug-free lifestyle. Not caving to peer pressure could have a ripple effect giving someone else the courage to “just say no” too.
If your company operates a drug-free workplace, how long has it been since your employees attended a class on drugs? Make sure employees are aware of signs and symptoms and feel confident about bringing any suspicions to you or their supervisor. Moreover, presenting them with education about the devastating effects of drug use on the family could cause someone struggling with substance abuse to seek help.
Eventually, education alone can win the war. Until then, keep abreast of governmental plans pertaining to the homeless and drug-addicted living in your area and voice your thoughts! It’s time we make our voices heard. Business owners and residents have a right to live and work each day without an ever-growing fear of becoming a crime victim. And, just as importantly, we can’t become so immune to human suffering that we find ourselves able to step over someone lying facedown in the street as if it was nothing either.