Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lethbridge East MLA talks about SCS, much-needed addiction supports

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Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf says he is more confident than ever the move toward treatment and recovery is what’s best for those caught in a lifestyle of addiction.

Premier Jason Kenney saying this week he’s received a panel report on the province’s Supervised Consumption Sites and it’s possible some may be relocated or closed.

While no decisions have been made, Neudorf tells our radio station he believes treatment and recovery will be key components of any plan going forward. “I don’t have an specifics on what that means for Lethbridge other than the fact I think it just clearly shows our intent to move from a harm reduction model to one about treatment and recovery. That means putting dollars in those places as well”.

Neudorf says government officials know how important the issue is here and calls Lethbridge “the number one hot zone” in Alberta.

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He notes whatever is done has to take into account the needs we have in Lethbridge.

The SCS was established under the former NDP government. Lethbridge West New Democrat MLA Shannon Phillips meanwhile, says if the SCS here was closed it would result in putting those who use the facility back on the streets, meaning more disorder downtown, more law enforcement issues, and ultimately more deaths. “I really think Jason Kenney doesn’t cares about that”.

Lethbridge City Councillor Blaine Hyggen has been very vocal about the crime and social disorder which has increased since the opening of the SCS. He tells us closing down the facility is likely not the answer, noting the majority of the people he’s talked to lately want the facility run differently. “It’s not as much as shutting it down, having the harm reduction part is important, but having it run more efficiently and effectively”.

Hyggen would like the local Supervised Consumption Site looked at by Alberta Health Services, saying he feels that is the way it should be run. “That’s the way I believe would suit it best that it is a health concern and so I believe that those who are professionals in the health field should be operating a facility like this”.

The full SCS Review Panel Report is expected to be made public within the next few weeks.

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