November 29th, 2020

Supporting those on front lines of addiction crisis

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on October 21, 2020.

Opioid crisis statement in support of all those living with addiction and frontline workers from faculty and staff at University of Lethbridge:

In September of 2020, data from Alberta Health’s COVID-19 Opioid Surveillance Report revealed that more than twice as many people had died from opioid overdoses in the second quarter than the first. The Alberta government has recognized that the harms associated with opioid use, including premature death, had reached levels never before seen in the province, mirroring the parallel crises in both B.C. and Ontario.

Despite the correlation between opioid deaths and the increased fear, isolation, anxiety, job losses and disruption to in-person services caused by COVID-19, instead of increasing services, the Government of Alberta has defunded ARCHES, one of the busiest supervised consumption sites in the province. The government has chosen to underfund harm-reduction efforts at the very moment those services are most needed in the province.

As professors at the University of Lethbridge, we write this statement to express our respect, gratitude and our support for all the frontline service providers who continue to work hard during this global pandemic to mitigate the impact of provincial cuts to these necessary services. The opioid crisis affects us all. The costs of defunding ARCHES and the ongoing racism, ableism and violence meted out against those who are living with trauma and addiction are felt not only by those most in need of services, they also have a sustained and negative impact on the students, staff, and faculty at the university and in the broader community of Lethbridge.

We wanted to be at the press conference today (Oct. 15) but concluded that it is more appropriate to instead release this statement of support in order to allow those on the frontlines of this crisis to speak and be heard in this public forum. We support you and we support all the students, staff, faculty and their families who are directly impacted by this crisis.


Caroline Hodes, Associate Professor, Women & Gender Studies

Jason Laurendeau, Associate Professor, Sociology

Maura Hanrahan, Associate Professor, Board of Governors Research Chair, Geography and


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ANY position founded on statistics from ARCHES is flawed from the outset. The ” busiest supervised consumption site” or the one with the most suspect methodology of calculation ? Closing ARCHES was the right thing to do and painting the building white was symbolic of the whitewash its existence was in addressing the addictions issue.
No one but the dealers supports addiction. How to best deal with the consequences to the person and community from this self destruction is the issue and by no means decided. The ARCHES “way” was tried and failed. Perhaps diversion and treatment will have more success.

The opinion of 3 academics in widely divergent and questionably relevant fields of study has been expressed. Thank you. Now let us move on to trying to address the issue rather than lament the passing of a cash cow for some at the expense of misery for others be they addicts or members of the community.

Seth Anthony

Fortunately, Mr. Luan addressed this garbage letter:

This ignorant letter is a textbook example of why science isn’t infallible, but scientists and “professionals” are.

Last edited 1 month ago by Seth Anthony
Dennis Bremner

The Socialist Republic of UofL speaks. I now see why the City is being groomed as an NDP stronghold. If you substitute facts with Socialist Shingle Hangars perhaps the farm animals will believe?


Playing with stats! Ithought people that are educated and Profs would know better.
Fact: The spike in fatal overdoses had nothing to do with availability of services since the SCS was still operational as well as the new mobile site when those stats were generated.
Fact: The reasons there was a spike was bad opioid supply chain due to COVID restrictions and in some cases the fatal overdoses were intentional.
Fact: Many of the fatal overdoses were at the SCS that day!
Fact: BC has blown billions of dollars alone in the greater Vancouver DTES with a population of just 20,000 with no impact. 17 years after they opened the first injection site in North America. Thousands have died because it failed them. Addiction counsellors warned us it would not be good for the addicts, and would make the problem worse. BC pumps $360 million into social and housing programs the addiction issues have created every year and that is just for those 360 programs. Injection sites do not work!
Effective treatment programs and policing work!
Sites run by people without the proper training endanger the addicts!
Sad that people get degrees like these people, yet spew such garbage out without taking the time to research the truth and facts!
Fact: The opioid crisis was killing 4,000 Canadians per year. COVID has already killed 10,000! 6,000 more people have already died from COVID this year!
And these people have been entrusted in educating our young adults, at a hight financial price I might add!!!
The SCS was a party palace, a social house that attracted people to drugs so they could join the ‘club’ . . . the membership fee or cover charge to enter was not cash . . . all you needed to do to enter was do drugs and enter where you could do drugs get free pizza or other treats, a rec room, people to socialize with . . . it conditioned people to do drugs so they had friends and fun!
I watched people slowly emaciate and in some cases die! Pregnant women were aloud to go in and use drugs as well as underage kids! If you support that then shame on you!!! People were not monitored for ‘hours’ after doing their drugs and some died on the streets after leaving there . . . you don’t hear that though, do you!
The First Nations community was the hardest hit, losing many of their youth after being attracted to the site, some coming in from the FN communities and then staying to party on the streets! Sad there is no one marching for them to shut down these perpetual drug enabling sites that are slaughtering them!
A year a mother posted these before and after pictures of her son after 7 months . . . this is what enabling does! Watching them slowly kill themselves while waiting for them to decide they want help ends up killing more than the few they save.
Effective treatment programs are the answer . . . these sites are perpetual killing machines that do very little good. Almost 70% of fatal overdoses in BC and Alberta are where the person lives!
If you think your son or daughter is out partying and decides to do drugs, they are going to drive to a site or call a taxi to the site, do them and then return home . . . you are very naive and someone has misguided you!
Shameful that people with supposed education can make such comments . . . but it is not the only evidence of ignorance that seems to be within the U of L faculty . . . sad that it has our city’s name that has been dragged throw the mud internationally by the SCS inflating stats!
Operating a site such is an illegal tent endangers addicts, and even some addicts don’t trust it!

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