Earlier this year, Alberta Health Services submitted an application to the federal government proposing to provide supervised consumption services at the health facility in Calgary’s central core.
“Alberta Health Services and community coalitions are working hard to bring supervised consumption services to Calgary in a way that residents and businesses can support,” said Associate Minister of Health, Brandy Payne. “Our first priority must be to keep Albertans alive – and having supervised consumption services available for Albertans who use substances will do that while providing wrap-around health and treatment supports.”
The Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre in downtown Calgary was identified as a potential site for supervised consumption services. Officials say it provides a range of wrap-around supports, including opioid dependency treatment and a needle-distribution program.
Community consultation is a key element in the application process. Both Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin have written letters of support to accompany the federal application.
Officials say supervised consumption services give people the option to use drugs in a monitored, clean environment to reduce harm from substance use, while offering additional services such as counselling, social work and opioid dependency treatment. Research done has shown supervised consumption services do not increase drug use or criminal activity.
- Alberta Health Services will send out postcards to residents and businesses within a two-kilometre radius of the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre. The postcard will ask people to call or email with their interest in participating in small-group discussions.
- Postcards, posters and social media posts will be used to inform the community of upcoming and ongoing engagement opportunities. Prospective participants will be asked to register in advance to reserve their spot. Information for the community conversation groups will be available on the Calgary sub-page of the stopods.ca webpage or by emailing [email protected] or calling 1-877-275-8830. Additional sessions will be added based on public interest to ensure all community members have an opportunity to join the conversation.
- Posters will go up at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre and in local residential buildings, and sent to community partners to share with their networks.
- Safeworks, AHS’s harm-reduction and needle-distribution service, will invite potential clients and families to participate