I can see the obvious reasons for the polarized view points.
First some background, i work for a harm reduction website that feels if drug use is to happen it should happen with the most amount of information people can get their hands on good and bad.
In America we send a duel message of need coupled with aberration of drugs within our society. We do not censure Big Pharma for pushing drugs through FDA with known negative consequences. We do not hold doctors accountable for the over prescribing of Americans. Nor do we raise a voice when those same doctors are getting kick backs and monetary incentives to roll out certain drugs.
Not to mention the mixed signal sent by the governments drug scheduling system. Where something as detrimental as heroin or Methamphetimine can be labeled schedule two because it has medicinal applications while a drug such as marijuana is a schedule three substance which means it has no medicinal use. To say that on the street they have no value that they create a social void in which many children and adults fall through the gap, but clinically and with a prescription that it is alright because our good friend Dr pharmacy will be 'closely monitoring' if anything his pocket book seems fairly ludicrous as well as an insult to my intelligence.
What we do have a problem with is street drug use because in a sense we feel that we are supporting an epidemic. It is a cost that we cannot see a benefit from. We see the street user who is homeless without jobs and living situations as morally repugnant and beneath our casual view. But the institutionalized use of drugs as a 'therapeutic' treatment is okayed and high fived.
Growing up my father as a drug counselor was one of the first in California to tell the school boards to take out the dare program because statistically it proved to worsen the effect of introducing youth with drugs. It was proven that this introduction was the cause for a 10-20 percent increase(depending on geographical region and socio-economical status) in use amongst school aged children.
He also helped set into motion the San Francisco needle exchange that has shown a decrease in the spread of aids as well as hepatitis amongst all groups observed. This program was especially important to the gay community. This in effect kept the infection rates low for gay men who would choose to use a rent boy or some other more clever euphemism.
The problem with seeing something in the context of being unnecessary is that perhaps you are not viewing it from all potential angles. How all parties are effected. What is the cost per IV drug users death for San Francisco. What resources are being squandered based on the continual treatment of IV drug users overdose. What if any oppertunity would there be to incorporate outreach services and drug prevention programs to the targeted populace.
To look at drug use as a war is apt, but the current methods we are trying to use to decrease use amongst the populace are failing. The most extreme example is the marijuana initiative. There are no conclusive evidence that the 2.5 billion dollars over the last few years have shown a marked decrease in marijuana consumption. It is this attitude that will eventually allow rampant drug use to flourish because we will in effect back a cause that has no measurable effects and be to self righteous to correct our actions.
No matter how many high profile drug seizures we observe it does little to deal with the actual mechanism and social disease that is drug addiction. In effect this is the most effective and appropriate propaganda for a political structure to show that the money they are investing is in effect doing its job.
While the San Francisco IV clinic may seem radical in concept it is only because of a lack of knowledge based on censorship that the general populace faces. When one is acquainted with the facts about what these clinics mean, for both individuals and cities, and can get past their moral imperatives or social pejoratives such as "survival of the fittest" then we can truly be free of an epidemic that has held us constrained for far to long.