A closer look at the supervised consumption site slated for Grande Prairie will soon be available to the public. An open house and trade show will be held January 28th at Revolution Place for tours of the mobile site and information on local substance use supports.
Director of supervised consumption services for HIV North Sarah Boxall says the goal is for people both in favour and opposed to the project to learn more about it.
“I hope they get a nice medical perspective on the service and we hope that it decreases some of the stigma,” she explains. “We want people to recognize this as a health service and a safe place for individuals to consume substances.”
Plans for a supervised consumption site in Grande Prairie have been in the works for years, and the unit arrived around the end of December. Health Canada stills needs to give it final approval before it can legally be put into use.
Boxall argues there are many misconceptions surrounding facilities where drugs can legally be consumed. One of the most common ones, she says, is that people incorrectly think drugs are supplied there as well.
“This is something I believe in wholeheartedly and the evidence from operational sites right now show that supervised consumptions sites do benefit the community as well as the individual.”
The trailer also has several security measures like a doorbell to gain access, 360-degree surveillance video, panic buttons, and wristwatches for staff that can trigger a call to security and police. Inside, there will be two healthcare professionals and one harm reduction worker, who will also be able to refer people to services. Any substances left over are destroyed in a locked safe that is picked up by the RCMP.
The site will be located near Rotary House and has had its proposed hours of operation shifted from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The open house will run from 3 to 6 p.m. January 28th at Revolution Place.