'The real work has gotta start now': Sask.'s first safe drug consumption site approved
Health Canada approves AIDS Saskatoon to run site
One advocate is welcoming the decision to approve Saskatchewan's first safe drug consumption site.
"We are very excited about this, but we always get that sombre reminder of why it's needed. It feels quite good but the real work has gotta start now," Mercredi said.
Mercredi said AIDS Saskatoon has received approval from Health Canada to operate a "safe consumption site." The site would offer a safe place for people to use drugs via injection or other methods.
AIDS Saskatoon officials say it will be a key factor in combating the crystal meth, opioid and HIV epidemics.
Mercredi said drug use is already happening in Saskatoon parks, playgrounds and alleyways. The safe consumption site would bring much of that activity under a controlled setting. They could serve up to 250 people per day, he said.
He said the goal is to introduce people to other programs and services, and help them quit drugs.
"We want to get them into a place where we can engage them," he said.
Saskatoon Police Service and AIDS Saskatoon are travelling to British Columbia next week to learn from existing service providers there, according to the release.
The project will begin some time next year. Agencies say that will give them time to set up and provide efficient and effective service.
AIDS Saskatoon officials say they're committed to being a responsible community organization. They plan to conduct monthly community garbage and needle pickups for the surrounding area, as well as continuing the daily needle patrols on school grounds.
A formal complaints process is being developed with clear timelines established to respond to matters as they arise, according to the release.