By Letter to the Editor on March 13, 2020.
The most telling reportage on the Supervised Consumption Site report showed up on the second page, at the very end of the article, in the March 6 Herald, where Rod Knect, the co-chair of the review panel, told a reporter: “ÉWhen people are using the site itself, they’re being supervised, they’re tended to, their street wounds are being looked afterÉ”
“And specific to needle debrisÉ those people that are injecting in the supervised consumption sites, those needles are being disposed of in a safe and healthy mannerÉ The challenge is getting more people using the sitesÉ The rise of debris (is) as a consequence of people not using the supervised consumption sites.”
Can’t say it much clearer than that.
Even Blaine Hyggen, who’s tied his mayoral aspirations to pushing back against the site, after rehashing the negative perceptions reflected in the report, shifted focus and said: “ÉDo we need that as a pillar? Supervised consumption? Yes we doÉ”
Which is not the picture the Review Committee presented when it released the report.
“It was the committee’s impression that he Lethbridge SCS may be facing the most problems in the province since the expressed concerns were disproportionately higher than other jurisdictions.”
Not the committee’s fault, I suppose, their terms of reference specifically precluded consideration of anything other than public perception and reaction and there was a concerted and organized opposition to the very existence of the site boiling up in the city around the time the committee came through town.
The problem is, the UCP government stacked the deck to get the results they wanted and now there’s a terrible chance that Lethbridge is going to have to live with those results.
Think about that if they close down the site and dead people start showing up in the alleys and the schoolyards. We came close to that a couple years ago and that’s where we very well could wind up if this goes sideways.
Listen to the co-chair of the committee when he speaks of the positive effects of the SCS. Not the perception É the effects!
“The challenge is getting more people using the sitesÉ”
That’s the message the provincial government should be listening to.