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City councillor apologizes for overdose prevention site transition leak

Red Deer city councillor Kraymer Barnstable. (Advocate file photo).

City councillor apologizes for overdose prevention site transition leak

Red Deer city Coun. Kraymer Barnstable has apologized for inadvertently leaking information about local overdose prevention services.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Barnstable acknowledges that “I was involved in a conversation with a Provincial colleague at a coffee shop downtown. We were discussing meetings that we were both involved in that pertained to the overdose prevention site and the Provincial government’s plans moving forward.

“Unfortunately, our conversation was overheard by someone else in the coffee shop who is connected to the OPS (overdose prevention site) which led to the announcement by the Province on Friday.”

Mental Health and Addiction Minister Nicholas Milliken announced in a news release on Friday that overdose prevention services will transition to a mobile site overseen by Alberta Health Services.

Turning Point Society began operating the site as what was to be a temporary health service in October 2018. Turning Point executive director Stacey Carmichael said they were surprised by the decision and are unclear what the rationale for the change is.

“I am truly sorry to Turning Point to have put them in this position,” Barnstable wrote. “When I sat down that day to have a conversation with a colleague I had no idea who was listening to our conversation and I learned a hard lesson to never have these conversations in public.

“I want to thank Turning Point for all you do and it pains me to know that I put you in such a vulnerable position last week. I won’t make this mistake again.”

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston apologized on Friday to Turning Point and service providers in the community who learned about the transition through the overheard conversation. At the time, the councillor involved was not named.

“We know this is unacceptable and for that we apologize,” Johnston said.

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