Manitoba

New Democrats promise safe consumption site for downtown Winnipeg

Manitoba's NDP leader says his party will open a safe consumption site on Main Street in downtown Winnipeg if they're elected on Sept. 10.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew says they will take action on meth crisis in first 100 days if party's elected

NDP Leader Wab Kinew says his party will build a safe consumption site in Winnipeg if elected. (Gilbert Rowan/CBC)

Manitoba's NDP leader says his party will open a safe consumption site on Main Street in downtown Winnipeg if they're elected on Sept. 10.

"Whether you are in a poorer area neighbourhood, whether you are in a surrounding area like this one or whether you are in the suburbs or anywhere across Manitoba, you are affected by the addictions crisis," Wab Kinew said at a news conference at Vimy Ridge Park in Wolseley. 

The announcement builds on a pledge made in July, when New Democrats promised to fund a program developed by the Main Street Project to address the meth crisis within their first 100 days in government. 

He also said his party would fund a 34-resident managed alcohol program — a program that gives those addicted to alcohol moderate amounts of it in a supervised setting. 

The 25-bed safe consumption site would cost $1 million a year to operate, and the managed alcohol program would cost $500,000 a year, Kinew said. 

The Main Street project program would cost about $1.5 million in capital funding, plus $2 million annually to operate.

The safe consumption site would be on Main Street, at "the heart of where the issues we see are," Kinew said.

"I look at it like Buckley's cough medicine — it tastes awful and it works," he said of the benefits of having a safe consumption site. 

The site, which would give users a safe place to consume drugs, would also help prevent cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, which have increased recently.

The Progressive Conservatives promised last week that they would build a short-term detox facility for methamphetamine users.

The PCs' $20-million plan also would add a sixth Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine treatment facility in the Southern Health region; RAAM centres function as walk-in clinics for addictions treatment. 

The Manitoba Liberals say if they're elected, they'll create a drug stabilization unit, extend recovery times in public treatment beds, fund transitional housing and expand harm-reduction programs. 

The Liberals plan to use a portion of the revenue from legal cannabis to fund their promises. 

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About the Author

Kristin Annable is a member of CBC's investigative unit based in Winnipeg. She can be reached at kristin.annable@cbc.ca

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