Supervised consumption site helping combat overdose deaths in Calgary

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – We are still seeing a very high number of overdose deaths in Calgary from opioids, including fentanyl.

But a Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services in the Calgary Zone says they’ve helped a lot of people since opening a supervised consumption site, downtown, in October 2017.

READ MORE: Health Canada approves supervised consumption site for Calgary; temporary site opens soon

Dr. Nick Etches says at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre they see about 200 clients per day — and that numbers been increasing since the site opened.

“We’ve seen more than 48,000 clients, in November alone we had more than 800 different people come and use the site, you know we’ve provided over 330 referrals to other services,” he said. “In the course of the past just under a year and a half at the supervised consumption service at the Sheldon Schumir we’ve reversed 750 overdoses.”

Etches says one of the biggest barriers they see in their response to the ongoing overdose crisis is stigma and judgement.

READ MORE: Researcher wants drug testing, mobile consumption site for Calgary

“It’s incredibly important that people that use drugs are met with compassion and understanding and without judgement in order for them to feel safe accessing care and disclosing to their loved ones what they’re struggling with,” he said.

If someone is in trouble and is unable to attend the centre, Etches said there are many places throughout Calgary where people can access naloxone kits.

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