Turning Point refuses to operate site at hospital
Turning Point will not operate a supervised-consumption site (SCS) if the only option — as determined by Red Deer city council — is locating it at the hospital.
“We will not propose to operate a SCS that is not based on best practise,” states a letter signed by the harm reduction group’s executive director, Stacey Carmichael and board chair, Kaylynn Milgate.
A study by Turning Point staff found a large majority of clients are not willing to use a consumption site located in an institutional setting.
The letter states these workers are “disheartened” council came to a decision without a basis in research or evidence, and not shaped by best practice. It “has created a myriad of issues not only for us, at Turning Point, but for the entire community.”
The written statement continues, noting thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work by professionals, who sought input from potential service users, were invested in a project that now seems unfeasible.
“These investments were made with the HOPE that we could save lives and make Red Deer a better place for everyone through offering SCS ….”
The letter states crime and needle debris have been shown to be reduced with a SCS, based on studies in other communities. Now “things will remain the same, or perhaps get worse.”
“Unfortunately, even with the anticipated recommendation from the province and approvals for federal exemption, many of our community members who use drugs will not have a safe place to do so, and the impact of the opioid crisis will continue to worsen.”
The letter ends by saying Turning Point will continue to work with community partners, the province and its clients to try to determine the next steps.