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Opioid Response Task Force working on “collective impact” approach

A number of groups are taking steps to combat the opioid crisis but the city’s Opioid Response Task Force is trying help them all work together. By working collaboratively, it’s believed a “collective impact” approach can maximize these resources efforts and their impacts on the community. Homeless Initiatives Supervisor Katherine Schmidt says the city would work as the backbone to coordinate these efforts.

“It’a not individuals or non-profits or groups all running around trying to do their little bit. It’s like, how do we work on this together as a city?”

Schmidt says the community desire to help is also there. She’s seen that with group efforts to collect and dispose of dirty needles. She also says there has been a positive response to overdose response training that is being offered as well.

“When I start hearing we’ve got naloxone training out there so people can actually take training so that if someone overdoses you can give them a shot of naloxone to get them to the hospital… I haven’t heard of an overdose [death] in our city in weeks and I think that’s why. I think we’re responding.”

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The city will take a leadership role with the task force and will assign staff members currently working within the community social development department to the task. Schmidt says this shows the city is taking the issue seriously.

“That will ensure that we will have City of Grande Prairie representation at the table and also someone from an administrative perspective that can take the minutes and do the agendas and do the reports so that that information gets collected and not fall on everyone sitting at the table to be able to do that work.”

A report to the Community Living Committee says the next steps will be organizing monthly meetings with the groups involved which include Alberta Health Services, the school boards that service the region, the RCMP and the chamber among others. HIV North is also a part of the task force.

They just launched their survey which gives the public a chance to weigh in with their thoughts on supervised consumption sites. The survey will help the group as they work on their application for a federal exemption.

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