A fourth public supervised consumption site is set to open in Edmonton on Nov. 5.
Located in the basement of the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, the site will be operated with existing health staff.
“Our staff are experienced, they’re seasoned,” executive director Cecilia Blasetti said. “They work with this population now.”
The service at the George Spady Centre sees an average of 61 visits per day, while the Boyle Street Community Services site sees about 57 visits per day. Patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital also have access to a supervised site in the hospital.
Like the other supervised sites, drug users will be asked what they plan to use and the last time they overdosed.
Staff say most of the clients will likely be people living on the street.
You don’t have to venture far in the neighbourhood to find a used needle.
Global News discovered a stash of needles, including one that appeared to be used, less than a block from the health centre.
Discarded beside the needles was a sharps container that is handed out for safe disposal.
“We’re as concerned as anyone,” said Blasetti about needles in the neighbourhood.
She said the consumption site will give them a leg up.
“People will be using here. There would be no reason to take a dirty needle away with them.”
But clients will be allowed to take clean supplies, including needles, Naloxone kits and disposal containers.
“If we’re not open or they’re using in some other place, we still want them to use a clean needle and dispose of it in a safe way as they have historically,” said Blasetti.
Cole Mondor, the pharmacist and owner of Mint Health + Drugs located directly across from the health centre, said he constantly finds needles surrounding his store.
“It’s just a reality in this area,” Mondor told Global News, adding he sees people injecting drugs in broad daylight.
He’s hoping fewer needles will be left on the ground once people have a place to inject inside.
“I know it won’t completely abate the use that’s seen by the public, however I’m hoping to see somewhat a reduction.”
LISTEN BELOW: Boyle McCauley Health Centre executive director, Cecilia Blasetti on the 630 CHED Afternoon News
The city of Edmonton compared the number of needles found in a three-block radius of the Boyle Street and George Spady sites from October last year to October this year.
In October 2017, the city picked up 11 needles. In October 2018, the city picked up 14 needles.
Boyle Street Services says since the first supervised consumption site opened in March, 228 overdoses have been reversed.