SANTA MONICA—On April 16, at 10:30 a.m., residents gathered at Christine Emerson Reed Park for a planned protest organized by the Santa Monica Coalition. The protesters were there to demand an end to the free hypodermic needle distribution in Santa Monica.

According to their web page, “The Santa Monica Coalition is a movement comprised of Santa Monica residents, business owners, and locals that addresses the humanitarian crisis, public safety concerns, the rising crime, and the current lack of responsiveness from the City of Santa Monica.”

According to an April 11, press release, Santa Monica has now passed San Francisco with the highest number of addicts per square mile. Of the 88 cities in Los Angeles County, Santa Monica now comes in third for the most meth and fentanyl overdoses “behind only Skid Row, and MacArthur Park.”

The following information came directly from the aforementioned press release. Full text with funding information may be found on the Santa Monica Coalition website.

“The city of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, along with the Venice Family Clinic have been operating the only open-air, public-funded needle distribution in the state. They make their distributions at Reed Park, Tongva, and Pacific Palisades Park (along Ocean Avenue).

This program is attracting substance abusers to settle in our parks, inject drugs, and discard their used needles in the grassy areas of the park.”

For the last 19 months the city has not acted on our behalf. Our City Manager, David White, without consulting the city council, signed a joint proclamation on behalf of Santa Monica, with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the Venice Family Clinic. David White is currently being supported by council members, [Gleam] Davis, [Caroline] Turosis, and [Jesse]Zwick.

All three council members voted against ending needle distributions in our parks.

“We want our parks available for safe use for all of our families and visitors.”

On February 16, the Santa Monica Coalition filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH) regarding the distribution of hypodermic needles at area beaches and parks. The coalition flooded City and LADPH officials to no avail.

The Santa Monica Coalition has since launched a “Santa Monica is not safe,” campaign to get residents involved in the movement to restore the beauty of Santa Monica.