AIDS Saskatoon changes name, sets opening date for safe consumption site

AIDS Saskatoon said it will now be known as Prairie Harm Reduction as it prepares to open Saskatchewan’s first safe consumption site in October. Prairie Harm Reduction / Supplied

AIDS Saskatoon said it is changing its name after 37 years to reflect “not only its past but the future” as it prepares to open the Saskatchewan’s first safe consumption site.

The organization said Tuesday it will now be known as Prairie Harm Reduction (PHR) to better reflect its work.

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

“We are proud of both our prairie and harm reduction roots,” PHR said in a statement.

“The new name and logo reflects the nature and philosophy of our work.”

PHR also said its safe consumption site in Saskatoon will open on Oct. 1 and operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

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It will be staffed by a primary care paramedic and PHR expects it will serve just over 70 people daily who use drugs.

Jason Mercredi, PHR’s executive director, said the primary care paramedic position will be funded through a $60,000 fundraising campaign.

Read more: AIDS Saskatoon denied funding for supervised consumption site in provincial budget

The organization had sought $1.3 million in funding from the provincial government to run the safe consumption site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It only received $130,000 for two new case managers in the 2020-21 provincial budget.

PHR said along with accepting donations, it is launching an online clothing store, with all proceeds going to fund the primary care paramedic position.

The only exception is one line of clothing dedicated to prairie nurses, with 50 per cent of the proceeds going to the HIV HCV nursing organization’s annual conference in 2021.

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