“We are going to move the existing supervised consumption site, which has been very disruptive to the neighborhood, and add SCS instead [supervised consumption site] capacity within the facilities of two existing partner organizations located in more appropriate locations, ”Justin Marshall, press secretary to Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan, said in a statement Thursday evening. The statement came after the Calgary Herald first reported the province’s plan to shut down the site, which has been the subject of controversy in the downtown Beltline community since it opened in 2018 in part of the province’s strategy to address the current opioid crisis.
At the facility, people can obtain harm reduction supplies – such as new needles – and use their medications in designated booths under the supervision of a registered nurse trained in overdose intervention.
Advocates for drug addicts have applauded the facility – the only one of its kind currently operating in Calgary – for saving lives, while critics complained about the increase in crime and calls for police services in the cities. surroundings.
Last year, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said it was a mistake when he initially recommended that the province open a single, centralized consumption site for the whole city.
“I suggested let’s go get one [site], put it in a big health care facility where there are a lot of comprehensive services, and let’s study the heck and see how it works, how it doesn’t, ”Nenshi said at the time.
“It was my suggestion, and [the province] took the suggestion. It was a mistake. “
Coun. Evan Woolley, who lost his brother to an overdose and whose service includes the current consumption site, said he was assured by Luan’s office that the Chumir facility would not be closed without the opening of “Several other facilities”.
“We need more [supervised consumption] facilities, but we also need treatment beds, and it’s really up to the provincial government to live up to the commitments they’ve made, ”Woolley said in an interview Thursday night.
Marshall would not say which partner organizations the province plans to work with on new supervised consumption sites in Calgary, or where they would be located.
“Our government is committed to providing a high quality, easily accessible mental health and addictions care system that includes a full continuum of supports, including harm reduction services,” he said .
“Albertans deserve nothing less. People with drug addiction deserve no less. “
More than 1,300 people died of overdoses in Alberta last year, according to provincial data.
“We are facing this mental health and addiction crisis in our community,” said Woolley. “People die from overdoses every day. “