Red Deer’s overdose prevention site already meets most of the new standards the province has developed for such sites, says the executive director of Turning Point.
On Wednesday, the province announced a new licensing process for programs like Red Deer’s site to improve community safety, the quality of services and increase integration with the health-care system.
“It’s nice to have the province acknowledge the importance of these services in the continuum of care,” Stacey Carmichael said.
“We’re committed to continuous improvement. We’re excited to be doing this work, and continue to do this work.”
Standards address the safety and security of clients, employees and surrounding community; standardize data collection; ensure staff qualifications and training and clinical practice standards; good neighbour agreements; and physical site requirements, such as having access to washrooms for clients.
“They are just formalizing things a little more. It’s not going to be a great deal of additional work,” Carmichael said.
She said Alberta Health Services already receives weekly statistics and in-depth monthly reports from the Red Deer site. Training and operation standards have been in place.
“We’re a 32-year-old, professional organization. We do have standards, and we do operate a good program.”
She said while there are no formal agreements with neighbouring businesses, there are informal relationships. Formal agreements will be the next step.
“We have site liaisons 12 hours a day going around trying to meet with businesses, and help them address concerns and respond to phone calls and pick up debris. We try within our means to do the best that we can to be a part of our community and support them.”
The site also does not have an onsite washroom for clients which will need to be added somehow, she said.
Turning Point must apply for the operating licence by the end of September.
“We’re not concerned about our ability to get that done.”