October 21st, 2020

Moving forward after SCS


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on August 15, 2020.

The anticipated shuttering of the ARCHES-run supervised consumption site at the end of the month brings to a close an experimental and, at times, divisive chapter in the history of Lethbridge.

While it is undeniable that the SCS was opened with good intentions with the hopes of addressing an overdose crisis in the city, it quickly became apparent the SCS could not exist on its own as the means toward that end without adding more treatment beds, after-care recovery counselling and supportive housing in Lethbridge to complement what it was doing at the street level to save the lives of local addicts.

This reality, combined with revelations about serious fiscal mismanagement at ARCHES last month, spelled the end of the supervised consumption site as we know it.

What comes next for addressing the ongoing addiction issues, and associated negative social behaviours, we have in the city will certainly be a new direction with the province choosing to pivot toward a recovery community model, which will have limited focus on harm reduction and greater focus on treatment and recovery.

The current SCS under this model will be replaced with a mobile Winnebago-style unit located near the existing homeless shelter which will be specially equipped to provide limited spaces for supervised consumption services. Given the current SCS is considered the busiest in Canada, only time will tell if this type of mobile unit will be up to task.

The province has also made some strong investments in the community in recent months in treatment, recovery and supportive housing, but most analysts agree these will not cover the extent of the drug problem we have in Lethbridge once fully operational. Still, these investments will undoubtedly help.

As divisive as the SCS was, it did open up important conversations within the city about how we deal with homelessness and addiction. And, for the most part, it revealed that residents of the city do care about helping our vulnerable population, even when profoundly disagreeing at times about how best to do that.

That is what we as a city must take forward from this. We must continue to find ways to help as best we can, maintain our compassion, and retain our resolve to come up with creative and positive solutions to move our city forward on a better footing in the face of these grave social ills which confront us.

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UncleBuck

The deficiency we have in this society is with the people who allow homelessness and addiction to run rampant. I see the people on the street talking to themselves, in a state of psychosis.

We don’t see white people with downs syndrome, FASD, or borderline personality disorder walking around homeless. We do however see MANY Indigenous people with unchecked and unaided mental illness walking around downtown every single day.

The system 100% failed these people. EVERY single homeless outreach program in this city makes money off of homelessness and addiction. Not just ARCHES. Every single one of those organizations uses homelessness and addiction to line their pockets.

They don’t want them off the streets.

They’ll lose their income if they do. That’s where the deficiency lies.

Find a way to make money off of getting rid of homelessness, and Lethbridge will do something about it. If there was a way to make money off of it, which is ALL that western/white people care about, then something will be done about homelessness.

You can’t make heartless people grow a heart in their body, can you Dennis? Can you Doug? Not at all.

The heartless will remain heartless. There is no helping a perfectly possessed person.

Maybe in the end, when it’s too late, they’ll get to see the kind of horror show they are. Not the homeless people, but the ones who campaigned to kill the homeless by closing the SCS.

May god have mercy on your souls.

ewingbt

@ UncleBuck . . . You really are out of touch on the subject . . . Many of the people you speak of that have FASD and borderline personality disorders have been created by addict issues and you missed many of the causian men and women on the streets with mental health issues! I watched one young caucasion woman with obvious mental health issues talking to herself and then lean over her shopping cart full of her only possessions and bawl in despair.You make statements about how great the SCS was and how the sky will now fall due to it closing. What kind of drugs are you on? Treating addicts and treating those with mental health issues is what is needed, not enabling them to do more drugs!
In one comment made a few days ago you laughed at the situation. This is far from a laughing matter!
FACTS: The SCS allowed pregnant women in to do drugs and 16 year olds . . . where does FASD come from? . . .and studies have proven that young people in their teens just smoke pot have gotten mental health issues such as schizophrenia.
You seem to think that the city of Lethbridge is a place that addicts are ‘entitiled’ to rape and pillage the citizens of this city, stealing little kids bikes, their parents bikes with carrier trailers to put their kids in, and anything else they can sell to pay for their addictions. They think they are entitled to take anything they want, run around the streets of this city intoxicated, shoot up where ever you want, drink where ever you want, have sex where ever you want, sleep where ever you want, urinate/defecate/vomit around doorways of businesses, because they think this is their city to do whatever they want! They think it is their right to do whatever they please.
That time has come to an end and in the next couple of years we will take back our streets, our neighbourhoods and our parks!
Brocket and Standoff do not allow what is happening on our streets to happen there, it is not allowed, so they come to Lethbridge to run wild!

The gravy train is ending and it is time the government gives the police the tools it needs to clean up our streets and protect and serve it’s citizens, or the people will vote in a government that will stop this pillaging and high costs to society.

People died because of the mismanagement of the SCS! Lives lost, but it is suddenly the fault of the citizens of Lethbridge? Time to face reality and the truth!
No other nation in the world has given it’s aboriginals the money and programs to help them get out of poverty as we have. The taxpayers spend over $14 billion annually to support the FN/Inuit . . . all that for about 600,000 taking full benefits of the 1.3 million in Canada.
It is time for FN people to start taking some responsibility! I am getting tired of the blame game! The help and programs are there for you to treat your addictions and it is your life whether you want to live a life on the streets or get the help and start enjoying a better life!

ARCHES received over $7 million in 2 years from the AB Gov and over $1 million from WHO, and more from other donors and the number of addicts increased, the number of fatal overdoses increased along with the number of homeless and crime!

Your comments are so far off from what is happening on the streets I am guessing you are one of the disgruntled, fired SCS staff! Clearly you have very little factual knowledge of what has been happening on our streets.
Drugs destroy peoples brains so they walk around talking to themselves, hallucinating, dancing and even talking to their imaginery friends as well! In another comment you stated that the addicts moved from Galt Gardens and dowtown to the SCS when it opened . . . wrong . . . there was always a steady stream of addicts moving back and forth between the library and Galt Gardens and the SCs . . . addicts continued to shoot up downtown, in Galt Gardens and the library . . .it was forecast that Galt Gardens would be busier this year and it would have been busier if COVID didn’t hit, because those sites generate more addicts and attract them from other provinces. We have people on our streets now from Ontario and BC, not to mention other FN communities in Alberta and SK.
Almost 50% of the addicts in Vancouver DTES are from out of province . . . they went there because of all the services provided for them . . . “build it and they will come!”
In BC, the first safe injection site opened 17 years ago . . . since then every year has seen increases in the numbers of fatal overdoses, the number of addicts/homeless and increases in crime.
It has spread like cancer, taking over many other major centers in BC . . . it doesn’t work!!!
I watched many beautiful young FN women who became addicts working on the streets slowly emaciate from the drugs . . . many died in the last 3 years! Many people have died not just from overdoses, but from suicide from the hopelessness they find themselves in, from homeless related disease and from addiction related disease! In BC and Alberta, almost 70% of fatal overdoses are where the person resides . . . SCS have zero effect!
Many FN are banished from their communities from their behaviours, yet we have to put up with their acts on our streets while paying millions to support them on our streets and pay for their supports and drug paraphernalia! We pay to get pillaged!
Many seniors and disabled in this city would love to get all the free clothes they can wear, two large, healthy FREE meals a day and as well as a group running around giving out sandwiches as well, that the addicts/homeless get!
This city has bent over backwards to support the homeless, so do not even try to play the abused, racist game with me! I support many of those organizations you speak of and they are ‘non-profit’ if you understand the term, they are NOT lining their pockets and in most cases manned by volunteers, dedicated to helping others!
Funny you make all these wild accusations about all the programs, but you fail to say anything about the disinformation that ARCHES spread to Council and the AB Gov or the missing millions of dollars that were to help the addicts.
I personally know of situations where people had gone to ARCHES just to get the referrals for addiction counselling and in one case, on a Thursday, they were told to come back on Tuesday, in another case, come back tomorrow. These are addicts that are reaching out for help and are told to come back another day . . . they could be dead in a day . . . great job the SCS was doing . . . they were great at getting everyone high though, watching them slowly emaciate, until they died!!!

My God and Jesus cry seeing this travesty and this mad experiment operate, so I do not know which God you speak of when you say ‘may he have mercy on your souls’.
Read your Bible. . . it clearly states thou shalt not be drunken ( which is stoned ), so what do you think his thoughts are slowly poisoning all these young lives and see them dying . . . The only God that would want the SCS open is Satan, and the tragedy that unfolds on our streets is Satan, the God of this world, not the almighty God!

brewster65

Talk about out of touch. Bible thumpers don’t know shat when it comes to drugs and addiction. Stop trying to feed your bs to us, it’s pathetic. You wouldn’t know the first thing about addictions. You act as if the addicted who visited the SCS will magically disappear with a wave of your Bible. I’ve got news for the ignorant such as yourself, they aren’t going anywhere! It’s people like you who create false narratives about situations they know NOTHING about.

The God he’s talking about it’s the same one who will reckon with your ignorance when you pass.

Dennis Bremner

What I find amusing, and I have to, Uncle Buck is you are able to atriculate the problem with ease yet seem to want to avoid the obvious conclusions?
1) If I am the heartless one, then where are the First Nations in this scenario? You obviously recognize the issues with FASD, and mental deficiencies and you claim to be a Nation within a Nation, so where are your facilities to deal with these crisis? Are your facilities in overflow or non existent? Let me help you, they are literally NON EXISTENT based on the size of the problem! You have ZERO institutions on your land that handle mentally challenged patients, and I mean ZERO. So considering its at epidemic levels and you have identified the issue, where are your plans for facilities on the reserves of Canada? Please let us know how the building of these facilities are going, we are all really interested!
2) I would tend to agree on our system being all about the money, thats why its so heavily supported by the so called “professionals” so we agree on one thing. Its why I have become heartless. Whitey has a system that does not work, keeps an addict and addict for profit and then hides the failures to keep the system going at the expense of the addicted. So I am heartless, and you agree with that criticism but you are not heartless? How does that work? A better system has to be devised. So how about the First Nations, have they learned anything here or is it just whitey that has to learn? So what is the First Nations learned response to whiteys money grubbing system? Nothing? Don’t care? Its whitey’s fault? We boot them off the reserve, so its Whitey’s problem? Where does the First Nations of Canada stand on a problem that is affecting them significantly? Whats the 5 year plan Uncle Buck, where are you expanding to fight your own problem?
3) So now you have defined help by whitey as money grabbing, we should expect a far superior system with announcements ASAP from the Nation within a Nation, right? Or are you just leaving it to whitey to fix the problem?
4) First Nations have suffered FASD issues for over 40 years now Uncle Buck. Name one institution on First Nation Reserves that deals with FASD and houses people that suffer from it? I will give you time to google it but can help you out, in 40 Years First Nations have built ZERO Facilities!
Here is my heartless position. Get off your butt and even “slightly attempt to fix your own problem” and then by all means come on Public Forums and Newspapers and spew your self righteous speeches. But continue to ignore your own people and pass all the tough decisions onto whitey and criticize the results from the peanut gallery and you get no sympathy cooperation or respect from “the heartless ones”!