CALGARY – With the supervised consumption site at the Sheldon Chumir set to close, what’s next?
The province plans to replace that site with two new smaller sites integrated with existing homeless population services.
“The service, as it is, is chaotic, it’s creating all kinds of challenges in the community, including the surrounding businesses,” Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan told 660 NEWS in an exclusive interview.
“Also, in terms of people accessing the service, there’s no standard and there’s no consistency. So, they’re not getting [the care] they deserve.”
Luan explained they have a multi-principled approach: Standardize the service, professionalize it, and integrate it into a full continuum of care model.
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The sites will now ask people for their healthcare card numbers if they try to access the service, but Luan explained that nobody will be denied service.
“It’s not going to be a barrier to refuse service. We made it abundantly clear, it’s actually written in the guideline, nobody should be rejected for service if they don’t have an Alberta healthcare number.”
He added that the government would rather have supervised consumption sites be more accessible to populations that need it by integrating the services into homeless shelters.
For non-homeless people who require a supervised consumption site and don’t want to go to a shelter or interact with homeless populations to access the service, Luan said they can use the provinces overdose prevention app.