Increase in overdoses shows need for safe consumption site: AIDS Saskatoon

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Increase in overdoses shows need for safe consumption site: AIDS Saskatoon
WATCH: AIDS Saskatoon said the city is in dire need of a safe consumption site, and is set to open this year despite a lack of provincial funding – Jun 19, 2020

An overdose near AIDS Saskatoon on Thursday is a reminder of the need for a safe consumption site in the city, according to the organization.

READ MORE: AIDS Saskatoon denied funding for supervised consumption site in provincial budget

A statement from executive director Jason Mercredi outlined an incident that occurred steps away from the building.

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“Our staff followed their training perfectly. They called 911, they got the man into the recovery position, got the Naloxone kits, alerted staff and administered Naloxone and CPR and was able to bring him back from being dead twice,” Mercredi told Global News on Friday.

Mercredi adds there has been a staggering increase in overdoses in Saskatoon. He said a safe consumption site would mitigate costs of emergency services currently needed to respond to the incidents.

READ MORE: Overdoses, Narcan use spike to record levels in Saskatoon: Medavie

“Medavie [Ambulance Care] has responded to 262 ambulance calls for overdoses in the month of May and we have more overdoses in the city than Edmonton, which is three times our population,” Mercredi said.

AIDS Saskatoon was hoping to receive enough provincial funding to run the safe consumption site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It only received enough for two new case managers.

Opposition leader Ryan Meili asked the premier and minister of health about the reduced funding for the safe consumption site in on Friday, but said he didn’t receive a clear answer.

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Minister Jim Reiter did mention there’s funding going towards a crystal meth treatment centre in Estevan.

READ MORE: Estevan, Sask. to receive specialized crystal meth treatment centre

“We looked at where we were at. We looked at where the demands were,” Reiter said.

Both Mercredi and Meili said treatment centres would have better success alongside a safe consumption site.

“Those beds will only work if people are still alive to get into them and preventing overdoses and preventing transmission of HIV and hepatitis C,” Meili said.

Despite the reduced provincial funding, the safe consumption site is expected to open this year. Mercredi said an opening date is expected to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Click to play video: 'Price of meth as low as $3 in Saskatoon'
Price of meth as low as $3 in Saskatoon

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