January 16th, 2021

Mobile SCS begins operation

By Jensen, Randy on August 18, 2020.

A man cleaning up garbage around the site walks past the new mobile supervised consumption site vehicle set up on its first day Monday outside the Lethbridge shelter. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Lethbridge Herald

The provincial government is providing further details on how the new mobile supervised consumption site will operate in Lethbridge.

The new mobile site, which is based in a Winnebago-style vehicle parked next to the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre, was set to begin operations in the city as of Monday.

In response to a media inquiry, the office of Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan provided the following information.

The overdose prevention site will be open seven days a week for 20 hours a day. Its operating hours will be between 8 a.m. and 4 a.m. daily. There will be three supervised consumption booths available for use.

“Based on the utilization data we’ve received from the current supervised consumption site operator, the capacity will be sufficient to serve all ARCHES clients,” says Kassandra Kitz, press secretary to Minister Luan.

The new site will work in partnership with the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre, and will put a heavy emphasis on “access to recovery-oriented supports, such as transitional shelter, detox and referral to treatment.”

The minister’s office also states as part of its longer-term strategy, there will be additional recovery coaches hired in Lethbridge to help build connections with people who are struggling with addictions and connect them to detox, treatment and recovery.

Critics of the mobile SCS are skeptical it will have the capacity to meet the need in Lethbridge previously provided by ARCHES. Supporters of harm reduction in the community will be holding a peaceful “Die-in” protest at city hall at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31, the day the ARCHES-run SCS is scheduled to close for good in the city.

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A step in the right direction and now more lives WILL be saved! Thank you for understanding that enabling addicts is not the answer!

This mobile unit or the Resource Center it is parked at can easily ‘refer’ those wanting treatment to the counsellors they need, the same as ARCHES did . . . ARCHES didn’t have trained counsellors, they had to refer them so there is no reason why this mobile unit or the Resource can’t do the same thing.

As far as the numbers . . . ARCHES inflated the numbers . . . . Proof: prior to the audit in February/March they were reporting around 650 people using the consumption area per day, but after AHS took over and had oversight, it was only 130 people per day . . . this is something many of us had been saying for over a year, that there were only about 150 – 200 using the site, multiple times per day, because they built a ‘social house’ that attracted people who wanted the social aspect of it, creating ‘conditioning’ that they need to do drugs to socialize!

These ‘gongshow’ experiment has been a costly mistake in lives and taxpayer money . . . sad that so many young lives were lost by it! People will die either way, but these sites generate more addicts which means more deaths, just as BC has proven, but their answer after their major failure . . . free hydromorphone (an opioid) prescribed as well as free cannabis and alcohol, all on the taxpayers dime or should I say hundred dollar bill!

Thank you Alberta Health for focusing on treatment and counselling! There already has been some positive changes now that the word is out! Lethbridge will no longer be the place to party at will anywhere and anytime you want by pillaging the city, taking over parks and destroying businesses.

There is light at the end of this long tunnel that has seen 5 years of intoxicated debauchery on our streets and the street prostitutes and crime explode. It will take a few years to take everything back, but we will do it . . . this is our city, our neighbourhoods, our parks and we need to stand together, united to take them back.

Many of those on our streets cannot do what they do on our streets in the community of Standoff or Brocket, so why do we allow them to get away with it here!

Why were we suckers for all the abuse we have gone through, the tarmishing of our good name internationally and the loss of so many businesses?

We need the feds and provincial government to pass the tough legislation to give police the tools to finish the clean up of our city, because we know that treatment will not resolve this whole problem that has plaqued our community for some time.

It is time, and many of this city’s citizens have had enough of seeing people urinate/defecate anywhere they want, throwing there garbage on the ground with garbage cans 5 feet away, along with open injection drug use and drinking ( the SCS never made a dent on that ), fighting/thefts/ B&E’s into cars/homes/businesses . . . we have had enough!

This city has been pillaged by those that think they are entitled to do it, with very few deterrents in place, ballooning the issues!

We are not over this yet . . . people need to stand strong to take back our city, standing united!