May 26th, 2020

Some facts, questions about the SCS


By Letter to the Editor on February 14, 2020.

There is a great deal of controversy about the supervised consumption site (Arches), and I am going to bring some facts to the discussion, and then pose some questions for the civic and provincial officials contemplating shutting down the facility.

From the Alberta government “Alberta Opiod Response Surveillance Report” (they only have documents up to the end of March 2019, readers can access the report online, and it is lengthy and detailed):

1. Lethbridge has the highest rate, per capita, of site visits in Alberta.

2. Lethbridge has the highest rate, per capita, of EMS responses to opioid overdoses in Alberta. This results in four per cent of Chinook Regional Hospital ER visits.

3. The most intense activity for Lethbridge in terms of site visits, overdose deaths and EMS responses was the summer of 2018. After that time period this type of activity has levelled off or decreased somewhat.

4. There are multiple supervised consumption sites in Calgary and Edmonton and other sites in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Red Deer. Calgary and Edmonton have had more overdose deaths than Lethbridge, but have higher populations.

5. Lethbridge has identified 440 (summer 2018 to March 2019) “unique clients,” meaning specific individuals using the site.

6. There were nine overdose deaths in Lethbridge area in the first three months of 2019, but no statistics are available yet for the rest of 2019.

The questions:

1. Why does Lethbridge have a higher per-capita rate for overdose deaths, “unique clients” and site visits? It is not because the site is open and “attracting” drug users, because those users could travel to the other sites in five other cities.

2. If the site is shut down, what will happen to the 440 “unique clients”?

3. Some people want the site shut down because they claim it is hurting business. Are there 440 crimes committed in Lethbridge every week to support drug users’ habits? Two weeks ago a Lethbridge Herald story quoted a business leader saying that approximately 75 per cent of Lethbridge business owners surveyed said they expect to expand their business in 2020, and that the unemployment rate in Lethbridge for December was four per cent.

Comparison information from the Globe & Mail, Jan. 27:

Brantford, Ont., with the same population of 100,000, had 35 overdose deaths in 2019, and four deaths in one day in January. Brantford does not have a supervised consumption site.

Allan Wilson

Lethbridge

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5 Responses to “Some facts, questions about the SCS”

  1. Dennis Bremner says:

    Lets deal with Business expansion, did you find how many were going to “expand” downtown because thats the businesses that are being destroyed by this stupidity?

    Lets deal with the 440 Unique Clients- First, they are not clients, they are drug addicts. The reason Bourque and the SCS calls them clients is like any client, they pay their paycheck and are the source of all the money that SCS earns for providing services, that is what a “Client is” . Second, you suggest 440 Unique Clients yet Lethbridge according to both Bourque/Manning and Mayor Spearman had 1300 Addicts as of October 2019 (Spearman Quote). So if we have 1300 Addicts and 440 (650 visits, some visit more than once a day) are using the SCS how many of those visits are Addicts visiting the SCS for one reason and one reason only, and that is to pick up a fresh supply of needles for the 900 or so NOT USING THE SCS?

    You ask what would happen to the 440 if the SCS shutdown? Simple answer really, they would use where THE OTHER 900 are using, which is in Lethbridges 90 drug houses (Another Spearman quote). So the impact on Lethbridge would be there would be 4 more people visiting each of the 90 drug houses that were set up by this stupidity.

    Lastly, once the Drug Clubhouse is shutdown Lethbridge will demand someone in the Judicial System to take this more serious then they are, catch and release does not work! Lethbridge will also demand the Mayor NOT APPOINT a soft on Crime Police Chief or Mr Mayor won’t be Mr Mayor much longer!

    • Jersey44 says:

      Just an FYI, Dennis, it’s not Bourgue. It’s Bourque. With a “Q”.

      • ewingbt says:

        @ Jersey44 – – – “Q” or “G” . . . who cares, the concerns are lives, livelihoods and impact to the community and you are worried about how your name is spelled???
        That in itself is the biggest problem when dealing with the issues . . . people who fail to see the impact on the community of over 100,000 where treating the addicts would save us all money and lives . . . shows where you head is at . . . oh wait . . . no I will leave that alone!!!!

        • Fescue says:

          Are you kidding, ewingbt? You’re just gonna cavalierly switch a q for a g and carry on like nothing happened! Monstrous!

  2. ChuckB says:

    Allan, I have a question for you. Which businesses downtown did you survey, because I use one business, purposely because he is downtown, that has told me that his business is down significantly since the SCS opened, and he has had a marked increase in theft that has hurt his bottom line. He had to put in surveillance cameras due to the large theft problem. I have also experienced theft. A canoe stolen off my tent trailer, they cut the chain. 4 high end mountain bikes stolen, again they cut the chain. Both times they took the chains. Why is anyone’s guess. How else do people who use drugs get their money for the next fix? Generous relatives? If there wasn’t a drug “clubhouse” where they can safely inject their illegal drugs, then that might push them to seek treatment. You don’t send a drunk into a bar day after day and expect them to sober up, do you? I am all for harm reduction, but it needs to have all four pillars. Having just the SCS is lunacy. There is no incentive to get clean without the facilities to do so,

    Before you ask, I come from a family history of alcoholics and drug addicts. I have had severe post concussion symptoms for 5 years and yet did not fall prey to addiction, although I do have an addictive personality, so, I know that it can be done.