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HIV North to look at supervised consumption services

HIV North Society will be looking into if there is a need for supervised consumption services in the city. Executive Director Melissa Byers says they have to go through the ethics process, hire research assistants and create a data sharing agreement before they can move forward on the needs assessment.

“We are not quite sure what it would look like in Grande Prairie yet or if Grande Prairie has a need for supervised consumption services. It could include access to harm reduction supplies like safer injection supplies or safer inhalation supplies as well.”

Byers says they would look at around 200 people in the city that are involved in drug use and ask them a series of about 100 questions.

“The goal of harm reduction is reduce harm when people are engaging in drug use. So, their chances of contracting blood borne infections, such as HIV or Hepatitis C, are significantly decreased.”

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She adds that it is a long process and they will have 14 months to complete the assessment. A coalition has been put together with their first meeting this Wednesday February 8th, 2017.

In partnership with the Alberta Community Council on HIV, Byers says the cost could be around $50,000 to $65,000. Canada’s health minister approved three supervised drug consumption sites in Montreal Monday.

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