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Opening postponed for Yukon's 1st supervised consumption site

Originally scheduled to open on Tuesday, the Yukon's first supervised consumption site is now expected to open next month because of delays in facility renovations and staff training.

Facility now expected to open sometime in late September, government says

The supervised consumption site will be located in downtown Whitehorse at 6189 Sixth Ave., a building that is currently government-owned and undergoing renovations. (Danielle d'Entremont/ CBC)

The Yukon's first supervised consumption site won't open on Tuesday, as originally expected.

The site in Whitehorse will provide a safe and hygienic environment for people to use drugs under the supervision of qualified medical staff. It was announced earlier this year and was scheduled to open its doors on Aug. 31.

However, due to delays in facility renovations and staff training, the opening day has been postponed. 

Cameron Grandy, director of mental wellness and substance use services for the Yukon government, said the facility has to have enough trained staff and must meet Health Canada requirements.

"Just to make sure that when we do open a site, we're able to open it, essentially getting all of the needs of the site met and made safely operational," he said.

Staff training

Ensuring the facility's staff are fully trained in harm prevention is essential, according to Grandy.

"The core trainings are going to be overdose prevention training that requires naloxone training," he said.

"Harm prevention in terms of supporting someone to use more safely. There's having someone trained in being able to support someone in referrals to other Health and Social Services supports as well."

Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Staff at the site will be trained to administer naloxone, which can reverse deadly opioid overdoses. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Grandy says he hopes the site will be up and running in late September. He said that once the facility opens, anyone can access the services.

"It's available to Yukoners who are using substances in a way they weren't initially intended," he said.

"It's for them to come and use them in a supervised and supportive environment to prevent the harmful impacts of overdose. As well as individuals who look to get connected to other harm reduction services to support their health care."

 

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