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Calgary addiction advocate concerned with review of Alberta’s consumption sites

Calgary addiction advocates concerned with supervised consumption site panel
WATCH: The debate over supervised consumption sites got a whole lot louder Monday after Alberta's UCP government announced a review of all eight sites across the province. The review will focus on crime and safety but critics contend the government is missing the point and insist Alberta's consumption sites are saving lives. Michael King reports.

The Alberta government announced on Monday that a panel of experts will review all eight supervised consumption sites across the province.

The review will focus on crime and safety — but critics contend the government is missing the point, insisting Alberta’s consumption sites are saving lives.

READ MORE: Former Edmonton police chief leads panel reviewing Alberta supervised consumption services

Advocate Rosalind Davis is a big supporter of Calgary’s supervised consumption site.

Davis founded Change the Face of Addiction, a group dedicated to helping those battling addiction, after losing her partner to fentanyl in 2016.

WATCH: Alberta supervised consumption site review: Associate minister responds to critics, outlines plan.

Alberta supervised consumption site review: Associate minister responds to critics, outlines plan
Alberta supervised consumption site review: Associate minister responds to critics, outlines plan

She’s upset with the province’s announcement that all of Alberta’s consumption sites are now under review.

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“This is a waste of taxpayer dollars and this is going to cause more harm than they’re aware of,” Davis said.

LISTEN BELOW: Rosalind Davis joins the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED

She added that any interruption to the supervised consumption sites would be devastating to Calgarians battling addiction.

READ MORE: Debate over supervised consumption sites ramps up across Alberta

“They are people that I love and I care about,” Davis said.

“It scares me that there’s any consideration of defunding or shutting down any of these services.”

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The province said the panel’s job is to gather more information on Alberta’s consumption sites and focus on the social and economic impact they have on nearby communities.

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READ MORE: Lethbridge mayor voices support for supervised consumption site ahead of Monday’s council meeting

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan said he’s well aware of the support for the sites, but that it needs to be balanced with the concerns of people living and working nearby.

“What we’re doing now is the community side of the impact… left out by the previous government,” Luan said Monday. “It was very evident that their voice has been completely ignored.”

The province said the panel represents a range of views including law enforcement and addiction experts.

READ MORE: Premier Kenney rejects Opposition attacks as Alberta halts new drug consumption sites

Davis disagrees and said it lacks hands-on-experience with consumption sites themselves.

“We don’t see anyone on the panel who works or has used the site,” Davis said. “It becomes really hard to claim that it’s an objective panel.”

The panel will hold public consultations over three weeks in September before delivering its report to cabinet.