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Lethbridge supervised drug consumption site exceeding expectations: report

Outside of Lethbridge's supervised consumption site.
Outside of Lethbridge's supervised consumption site. Global News File

A new report shows the use of a supervised drug consumption site in Lethbridge, Alta. is exceeding expectations.

As of the end of April, 389 clients had registered to use the site and about 75 per cent of them have used it multiple times.

Last month, the facility averaged 175 visits per day. The peak number of visits in one day since opening earlier this year is 231.

READ MORE: Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site having impact in first week

Currently there are six injection booths and two inhalation rooms at the site in downtown Lethbridge, but with wait times ranging from 10 to 90 minutes per day, approvals are being sought to add four more injection booths and another inhalation room.

Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site sees traffic in first week
Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site sees traffic in first week

To date there have been 70 drug overdoses by clients using the site, but in each case medical intervention prevented any fatalities.

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The report presented to members of city council on Monday also found the opioid crisis in Lethbridge is escalating.

READ MORE: Albertans continue to die in large numbers from fentanyl use: report

In 2017, there were 18 fentanyl deaths in the city, and the death rate was the third-highest among Alberta cities at a rate of 19 deaths per 100,000 people.

Lethbridge Fire and EMS responded to 664 emergency overdose calls last year, an increase from 608 in 2016.

This year, as of April 25, first responders have been called to 272 overdose cases.