Lethbridge supervised consumption site to close at end of August after audit finds $1.6M shortfall
Province halted funding of city's only supervised drug consumption site last month
A beleaguered Lethbridge supervised drug consumption site will cease operating at the end of the month, according to a release from the organization.
The Alberta government halted grant funding to the ARCHES facility — Lethbridge's only supervised consumption site — after a government-ordered audit found $1.6 million of public money unaccounted for.
A Deloitte report released last month found that some of the money that charitable organization ARCHES received to help clients was instead used to pay for travel in Portugal, unauthorized overtime pay and the purchase of thousands of dollars worth of gift cards.
Jason Luan, associate minister of mental health and addictions, said he was disgusted to learn that public money meant to help vulnerable people in life-and-death situations was allegedly misused or went missing.
ARCHES said in its release that its board will work with Alberta Health "in order to ensure a smooth program transition for all impacted clients and stakeholders."
"Currently, ARCHES does not have details on the future plans for supervised consumption or needle debris pick up services within the city and have been told directly that if you would like further information on these new services, you are encouraged to reach out to Alberta Health," the release said.