Temporary mobile overdose prevention site opens outside Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre

Click to play video 'Mobile overdose prevention site opens in Lethbridge ahead of ARCHES site closure' Mobile overdose prevention site opens in Lethbridge ahead of ARCHES site closure
WATCH ABOVE: A white van placed outside the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre will serve as a temporary overdose prevention site operated by Alberta Health Services. As Eloise Therien explains, the site opened Monday and will focus on addiction recovery – Aug 17, 2020

With ARCHES losing all provincial funding and closing down its supervised consumption services in Lethbridge, the Government of Alberta has implemented a temporary solution to aid the vulnerable population dealing with addiction.

The site, which opened on Monday, is parked outside the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre on 2nd Ave. N.

According to Alberta Health, the site currently employs 22 staff through Alberta Health Services, and will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 4 a.m.

Read more: ARCHES audit findings turned over to Lethbridge police for investigation

While smaller than the ARCHES supervised consumption site, officials say the services at the new mobile site will likely remain at the same level.

“Based on the utilization data we’ve received from the current supervised consumption site operator, the capacity will be sufficient to serve all ARCHES clients,” Kassandra Kitz said in a statement to Global News.

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Kitz, the press secretary to the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, emphasizes that the site is a temporary solution to serve the community while the government works with key stakeholders and the city to ensure longer-term strategies are implemented.

Read more: Alberta announces $10M for addiction recovery communities in Lethbridge County, Blood Tribe First Nation

“The site will work with local partners, like the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre, with a heavy emphasis on access to recovery-oriented supports, such as transitional shelter, detox and referral to treatment.”

As well, they plan to hire recovery coaches in the city, in an effort to build connections with those struggling with addiction and find ways to connect them with avenues for detox, treatment, and recovery.

It is not yet known how long the mobile site will remain operational.

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