Does Red Deer need a safe-injection site?

Turning Point to study possible consumption site

Turning Point will start work in April on an assessment to see whether Red Deer needs an opioid consumption site.

In October the province announced $500,000 in grants to be split between six Alberta communities with existing needle exchange programs to assess the need for safe, supervised sites for opioid use.

Jennifer Vanderschaeghe, Turning Point executive director, said the assessment will include surveying about 200 people who use drugs in Red Deer.

“They’re the experts in this. It isn’t a general public conversation. The consultations are very specific,” Vanderschaeghe said.

She said funding for the assessment is expected to arrive soon and will coincide with Turning Point hiring a consultant in this next step to address the opioid overdose epidemic and fentanyl deaths.

The assessment will be finished by Sept. 30.

Community agencies across the province are working collaboratively to collect data that can be compared and can assist those with addictions. But communities could have unique challenges and populations, she said.

“At the end of the day what has to happen in Red Deer might be entirely different than what needs to happen in Medicine Hat or Lethbridge.”

Turning Point, Central Alberta’s harm-reduction agency, had 856 active clients as of October.

Since July 2015, Turning Point has been distributing free Naloxone injection kits and trains people use them in response to the rise in fentanyl overdoses.

On March 19 the agency gave out its 2,000th kit and as of Monday an additional 60 had been handed out.

Vanderschaeghe said to date Turning Point has been aware of 477 drug reversals as a result of using the kits, including 49 so far this month.

“That’s a lot of people who overdosed and almost died (in March). That’s more than 10 per cent of reversals altogether. That’s an indication of just how much this is growing.”

She said Turning Point staff heard of four overdose deaths in March.

“We’re finding that the Naloxone program is bringing us people who wouldn’t necessarily access us. People who don’t use drugs everyday. People who are just weekend partiers. People who are just snorting. We’re fine to support them however we can. It’s too bad thought that there aren’t more organizations providing more services during this emergency.”

Just Posted

Red Deer woman target of robbery in broad daylight, near police station

Walking home, in broad daylight, Barb Smith never thought for a minute… Continue reading

Tsunami warning for B.C.’s coast is cancelled after Alaska quake

VANCOUVER — A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled… Continue reading

Sewage spill shuts beaches along California’s Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the… Continue reading

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

TORONTO — A Toronto producer who worked on “The Shape of Water”… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month