Premier Jason Kenney addressing concerns around the Lethbridge Supervised Consumption Site (SCS).
Last week it was revealed an audit on ARCHES uncovered more than $1.6 million in unaccounted for public funds between 2017 and 2018.
During an announcement regarding the building of a 75 bed drug recovery community in Red Deer on the weekend, Kenney spoke about the Lethbridge SCS, saying the audit is troubling.
“This is a very serious problem,” stressed Kenney. “That’s why we referred it to police for potential further criminal investigation. That is why we immediately withdrew funding from ARCHES. We appreciate the Government of Canada’s commitment to not back fill that funding.”
Kenney called the results of the ARCHES audit “shocking & outrageous”. He says “it appears some people were profiting personally from the misery of others going through drug addiction.”
Kenney did say during the same press conference Saturday (July 18) the UCP government will continue with “seamless access to service” at the Lethbridge SCS, however he didn’t give details as to how that would happen, stating Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jason Luan would have more on that in the days ahead.
The Premier also mentioned there will be announcements in the future about additional treatment services in the Lethbridge area. “We’ve been also working very closely with the neighbouring Blood Reserve on assisting them with additional treatment and recovery services.”
The recovery community announced in Red Deer is the first of five to be announced in Alberta.
These facilities are also known as therapeutic communities. They’re a form of long-term residential treatment for addiction, used in more than 65 countries around the world. Program participants advance through the stages of treatment at their own pace, setting personal objectives and assuming greater responsibilities in the community along the way.
Kenney says his government is determined to provide a real life-giving alternative, an alternative through a continuum of care, leading to an ultimate goal of recovery. “Some in the past have had a single-minded focus on only one approach (harm reduction). That involved, in-part, setting up drug consumption sites, consumption sites which have had a very negative impact on neighbourhoods, livelihoods, jobs, businesses, and crime rates.”
Recovery communities encourage participants to examine their personal behaviour to help them become more pro-social and positively-engaged citizens. The goal is for an individual to leave the program not only drug-free, but also employed or in school or training.