June 14, 2017 8:27 am
Updated: June 14, 2017 7:29 pm

Alberta hopes to set up safe injection site in downtown Calgary

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Health Services says it will open Calgary’s first supervised consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre. Doug Vaessen has the details.

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Alberta has applied to Health Canada to set up a safe injection site at a health centre in downtown Calgary.

Having a site at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre has the support of Mayor Naheed Nenshi and police Chief Roger Chaffin.

READ MORE: Calgarians divided over idea of safe injection site: poll

Nenshi says he hasn’t always been a supporter of safe injection sites, but the evidence suggests they save lives.

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“My students at Mount Royal University would be shocked to see me here, because I used to argue with them that safe injection sites don’t have the outcomes that they said they had,” Nenshi said. “But again, the evidence is clear. Today, we are making a move that saves peoples’ lives.”

“As community members, we have to remember these are human beings. They’re our neighbours, they’re our fellow citizens and our number one job in a community is to keep people alive and to keep them safe.”

Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne says people who live near the health centre will be consulted about the proposal.

READ MORE: Recovering fentanyl addict describes overdosing in Calgary Walmart

Alberta Health Services says 152 people died from fentanyl overdoses last year in Calgary.

So far this year, fentanyl has killed 49 in Alberta’s largest city.

Earlier this month, Health Canada confirmed to Global News it had received five applications from the province for supervised consumption sites. Four of the applications are for Edmonton and one is for Calgary.

At the time, Payne said her department was still evaluating whether it made more sense to have one location or multiple locations in Calgary.

Watch below: As Calgary looks to secure its first supervised drug site, those faced with addiction question how effective it will be. Tracy Nagai reports.

With files from Melissa Gilligan and John Himpe

 

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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