By Letter to the Editor on September 10, 2019.
The debate over the ARCHES Supervised Consumption Site has ramped up once again in Lethbridge. I truly feel for the exasperated staff there, who have to once again, be put through the wringer. I feel for those who use the site, as they are also the focus of much negative attention at this time. On social media, the staff at ARCHES have been accused of taking advantage of the crisis for their own profit, despite ARCHES being a non-profit organization. I always thought job creation was supposed to be a good thing. I guess not when it comes to jobs that involve helping those in need.
On social media, the clients of the SCS have been called junkies, druggies, criminals and more. Using these labels make it much easier to advocate for a removal of the life-saving services offered by ARCHES. Everyone should remember that the people who take advantage of their services are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, siblings, and more. They are not nameless people whose lives are worth less than those who aren’t struggling with addiction.
On the ARCHES website you can see pictures and stories of what the clients feel ARCHES has done for them. I encourage everyone to visit the site and learn for yourself. Don’t define the clients of SCS by one aspect of their life. See the humanity in everyone, and support the SCS for what it does: save lives.
The energy that certain people are putting towards shutting it down would be much better utilized lobbying the government and others to encourage the implementation of other resources and infrastructure to help those who are struggling. Opioids have been used for thousands of years, they’re not going away. Let’s work together to support ARCHES and make our community better for everyone.