Lethbridge coalition seeks safe and legal site for drug consumption

A southern Alberta city is the latest community planning to seek approval to help drug users consume with help nearby.

Overdose rate in the region is 24 per cent higher than anywhere else in Alberta, says a harm reduction society

A coalition of Lethbridge groups wants to create a legal consumption site where health professionals could oversee the use of drugs and the safety of users. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

An Alberta city is the latest community planning to seek approval to help drug users with a safe consumption site.

A coalition of community groups plan to submit a request for one of the federally regulated sites in Lethbridge at the end of July.

Jill Manning, the managing director of ARCHES (AIDS Outreach Community Harm Reduction Education Support) Society, says it's estimated there are about 3,000 individuals who consume drugs in Lethbridge and double that number in southwestern Alberta.

Manning says the overdose rate in the region is 24 per cent higher than anywhere else in Alberta.

The cost of the facility, at $1.5 million per year, would provide a legal consumption site where health professionals could oversee the use of drugs and the safety of users.

Lethbridge Police Insp. Tom Ascroft says the site would require a federal exemption making drug use inside legal.