The green light has been given to a supervised consumption site in the City. This can be seen as a really positive thing for some and a really negative thing for others.
One way to look at it is that after many lengthy discussions, lots of feedback from the community and statistics showing the amount of deaths happening as a result of the opioid crisis not just in our community but across the country, our City council finally made a decision.
It’s been a very touchy subject in the community that has garnered so much frustration from the public. And fair enough, but at the end of the day, it comes down to a decision. It came down to the decision of council because this is something affecting Red Deer, our City.
While this is a complex issue in our City, the opioid crisis is really about people, people who are dying on our streets, people who need help. Having a supervised consumption site is one of the ways that can be of help to those suffering. It will be a place for those to go and use safely with supervision.
When it comes to safety measures, City council even added an amendment that the site must have a monitored internal and external digital camera security system and personnel to perform regular surveillance during hours of operation.
This decision by council may be looked at negatively by people. The words, ‘This is ridiculous, why is this happening? Go elsewhere. Don’t help these people,’ have and will continue to be said. People are allowed to have opinions, but it’s also important to realize that these are people that have families, that need help, that are a brother, a sister, a husband, a wife. These are people on our streets that maybe had a tough go at life that need to be helped.
Turning Point has done a wonderful job in providing help to those who need it and the recently approved site is large enough to accommodate all of the services provided by Turning Point, including supervised consumption services.
Adjacent sites in the area include a mix of institutional services, commercial recreation, merchandise sales and service, a detoxification centre and an overnight shelter.
So while many shake their heads not understanding the issue, that’s okay to not understand, but we need to be aware of the issues going on in our City and council has finally made movement on this issue that can hopefully help alleviate some of the concerns of the public.