By Letter to the Editor on July 16, 2020.
Your July 9 front-page article, “Report paints adverse picture of ARCHES,” is out of date, misleading and lacks proper context. It is unfair to both the staff at ARCHES and to your readers.
The central “leaked report” is old, several weeks so. It refers to issues that are currently resolved or are being addressed. By highlighting the leaked report first thing in the article and at such length, the impression left for the reader is that there are big problems there. That is inaccurate.
The article is misleading in that negative outdated information is placed front page, with current information buried inside. Most people won’t read that far, and the front-page message fuels negative opinions of ARCHES.
Even if one were to carefully read the entire article, it includes little context with which to understand the challenges at ARCHES and the Supervised Consumption Centre. The report criticized only administrative aspects. It did not address the quality nor effectiveness of the service delivery. Persons addicted to substances have very complex needs that stymie even the most excellent of administrators. Not only do clients come with multiple needs, the high use of the services could not have been anticipated, nor the community’s opposition to the very existence of the SCS.
I observed the operation of ARCHES while volunteering at the SCS over several months. The administration was faced with untypical service challenges and unanticipated difficulties in a highly fraught social problem. Many of the clients are First Nation, where addiction is most often the result of self-medicating unresolved trauma, rooted in unjust and racist political decisions such as residential schools and other prejudicial treatment of people. Other clients have been prescribed opiates inappropriately and become addicted due to drug manufacturers giving false information to doctors. It is tempting to oversimplify this issue and to just want it to go away. We look for someone to blame.
By not including the complex challenges of ARCHES, the Herald article misleads the average reader. Add to that the out-datedness of the leaked report, the fact that most of the concerns have been resolved or improved, and it comes across as biased, inaccurate reporting. I expect better of the Lethbridge Herald. Please, as important media in this city, help the general population understand what is really going on. Don’t fuel bias.