Lethbridge supervised drug site to shut down at the end of month

  • Aug. 13, 2020 2:30 p.m.

LETHBRIDGE — The operator of one of the busiest supervised drug consumption sites in North America is shutting down at the end of the month.

The Alberta government pulled its funding from ARCHES in Lethbridge in July, after an audit revealed financial irregularities.

A report by accounting firm Deloitte found $1.6 million was unaccounted for.

It also discovered $13,000 was used for parties, staff retreats and gift cards, and thousands more was spent on travel — including $4,300 for a manager to attend a conference in Portugal.

The not-for-profit’s board of directors says in a statement that the supervised drug site, needle debris pickup program and outreach will be ending Aug. 31.

It says it has worked closely with Alberta Health to ensure a smooth transition, but has no information on future supervised consumption or needle debris pickup services in the southern Alberta city.

“The board would like to acknowledge the staff that continue to provide a high level of care to the clients and work through this difficult transition,” the statement said.

“They have never wavered in their dedication and we thank them for doing this work for the last few years.”

A quarterly surveillance report from Alberta Health showed a monthly average of 439 clients made more than 60,000 visits to the Lethbridge site in the first three months of this year.

Addictions treatment

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