January 16th, 2021

Op-ed misses importance of harm-reduction measures

By Letter to the Editor on October 16, 2020.

Re: “Treating addiction crisis on the front lines” by Stacey Petersen, Kim Turgeon (Oct. 7 Lethbridge Herald)

We agree in principle that “supporting addiction recovery shouldn’t be divisive,” but we have serious concerns about the content of Stacey Petersen and Kim Turgeon’s op-ed.

The article defends the UCP government’s “recovery-oriented approach” but fails to acknowledge that this approach has entailed a concerted attack on harm-reduction initiatives in Alberta. After halting the opening of a number of mobile supervised consumption sites, the UCP scrapped a virtual overdose response program and closed down the Lethbridge SCS, the busiest in Canada. This is especially concerning in light of recent data showing that opioid deaths in our province more than doubled. We applaud investment in recovery, but you can’t recover if you’re already dead.

We have heard from a range of public health-care providers who tell us that their voices are not represented by this op-ed.

Joe Ceci

(NDP MLA and Critic for Municipal Affairs, Calgary)

Heather Sweet

(NDP MLA and Critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Edmonton)

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The problem wasn’t harm reduction. The problem, one pillar, not four, massive spending of grant money (14 million) and funds unaccounted for. And we know why, you Joe. Did the MLA from West Lethbridge out you up to this support piece, we know she is taking a lot of flack for this debacle.


The four pillars have never being seen in Canada! Never achieved in BC, and BC blew billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives in this plan to enable drug users! After 17 years and all the efforts it is clear enabling users is a complete failure!
Lethbridge is tired of being raped and pillaged by users lookiing for ways to get their next fix!
This SCS devasted our community and just when we saw some light at the end of the tunnel, this tent pops up!
The best programs that are effective in treatment in North America DO NOT have safe consumption sites . . . I say again DO NOT have safe consumption sites! Effective treatment programs lasting 12 to 18 months that include upgrading and job placement and effective policing, with prison diversion programs saves lives.
The SCS allowed pregnant woman, some at leat 8 months into their pregnancy to consume drugs, underage kids to consume drugs and people leaving the building that would overdose right in the parking lot!
We ‘killed’ dozens of young people that grew up wanting the same things we all want growing up! The SCS was a party palace that attracted people and created more addicts, a social house like a nightclub with music, a rec room and instead of a monetary cover charge to get in, you just had to consume drugs to enjoy the social atmosphere. That party palace attracted people how had no social life, where they met their new friends!
Several addition counsellors were against and the concept, knowing that enabling addicts to do drugs only shows them it is okay and those around them. That idea spreads throughout the community and sucks in young people that would never have thought about doing those drugs.
In Alberta about 66% of the fatal overdoses are where the person lives!
These sites only increase the number of addicts as we clearly can see by the best example right next door in BC!
Not all fatal overdoses are ‘accidental’ because many find themselves in such a hopeless situation that if appears they can’t get out of, and decide they will just overdose and quietly pass . . . you don’t see that reported though.
What about the 10 and 12 year olds that getting high in this city, on the streets running around in another world and people ‘taking advantage’ of them, some raped multiple times . . . you don’t hear that on the news!
Drugs are not okay and enabling addicts is not okay! Treatment programs are by far cheaper and they DO save lives without allowing them to slowly kill themselves while catching HIV/AIDS, Hep and all the other sexaully transmitted diseases!
This is our city not the 150-200 addicts that have cost taxpayers tens of millions! It is time we take it back and put the criminals operating the tent in jail!

Dennis Bremner

Gotta address this. Both of you have absolutely NO Clue as to what you are talking about! Much like the so called professionals who run this sh*t show. Recent data of doubling in deaths occurred while the SCS was open. Second, Doubling occurred elsewhere (BC) and they never closed their SCSs. If you wish to be a critic, get a clue as to what your are talking about. For instance. Have any of you NDP BrainTrusts determined whom died? Because its important, unless you are a critic only, as to whether the people that died were SCS clients or not. You see SCS people tend to be high risk because the amazing system you support removes death from an addicts concerns. So they experiment with new concoctions and are the mule for the dealers in proving the “next batch”. Once these people become adventurous, they tend to be the ones that die. Although you will find NO study of this because it ruins the cash cow for everyone. So these adventurous addicts then think they can experiment outside the SCS and poof, they are cadavers ! So SCSs create the dead addict in waiting. Do some research for God’s sake before writing useless political bullchips! The UCP is seeing through the bullchips and as per normal, the NDP can’t!

Last edited 2 months ago by Dennis Bremner

Thank you Dennis . . . Well said! The SCS saw a constant stream going back and forth between the Library and Galt Gardens, many going for more paraphernalia and the treats they offered like pizza.
Many of the fatal overdoses were within 2 blocks of the site and, as you stated while the SCS was still open! SCS was a ‘social club, a party palace’ making been addicted FUN and a meeting place. Many of the fatal overdoses were in Galt Gardens!
Addiction is not fun, it kills, it destroys lives, it costs society according to BC studies over $1 million per addict, and the ones that are constantly going the system, $5 million per addict. Addiction should never be enabled, epecially when you have high numbers of a society that are very susceptible to addiction in your area.
The NDP destroyed our city by pushing the SCS on us and it they get back in next election, once again we will attract addicts from all over with the SCS they will put throughout the city!
The numbers of overdoses have come back down, AFTER the SCS closed the end of August!
Living, working, walking downtown I have seen a reduction of people shooting up in front and behind businesses since the SCS closed.
Like I said all the time . . .”build it and they will come” and they did, they were attracted to it!