Overdose Prevention Site [OPS] at the Calgary Drop In & Rehab Centre [DI]
Update as of Sep. 2, 2022: The DI and Government of Alberta have decided not to pursue operating OPS at The DI.
"Over the past year Alberta’s government has been working closely with the Calgary Drop-In Centre to establish a small-scale overdose prevention service to prevent deadly overdoses from occurring in and around the Drop-In Centre. The Calgary Drop-In Centre, in partnership with Alberta’s government has listened to the community and heard significant concerns of surrounding communities and stakeholders. We have jointly determined not to process with this proposed overdose prevention site.
Instead, Alberta’s government will be supporting the Calgary Drop-In Centre to establish a medical detox and a dynamic outreach and overdose response in the community.
Alberta’s government will continue to work with the City of Calgary and local residents, business owners, and stakeholders to establish a more suitable overdose prevention model within Calgary than what currently exists." -Michael Ellis, the MLA for Calgary-West, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions in Alberta.
At the July Calgary Drop-in & Rehab Centre (DI) Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) engagement sessions that Cllr Wong attended, the Ward 7 team observed much emotional fatigue overall and great need for additional discussion. It is understandable that when people are confronting challenging subject matter like poverty, mental health, and addiction issues, the conversation becomes overwhelming and diverse perspectives get lost in the mix.
However, it is clear that there is much empathy, compassion and love of community amongst the perceived and real tension between housed and un-housed residents in the area. The City has not yet received answers from our Provincial counterparts at this time on what additional Provincial funding and supports will be provided to ensure all safety concerns the community shared are addressed, but it is clear to Cllr Wong that neighbours are genuinely looking out for one another and just want to ensure that safety, dignity, and wellness are accessible to all even when there is not a consensus on what the potential implementation of OPS at the DI should look like.
There is much that is out of scope for the municipality as OPS is a healthcare matter within the Provincial government's jurisdiction. However, we heard you at the engagement sessions and want to ensure that everything that The City can do to push for advocacy, through the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and appropriate Administrative departments, will be done.
Cllr Wong is also currently working on building a forum that enables deeper community conversations at a local level. These ideas, stories, and perspectives generated may be of use to Council in championing for greater collaboration with the Provincial government and investment; or perhaps give clarity to social service partners like the DI on how to strengthen relationships with their fence line neighbours. The Ward 7 team is inspired by the brain trust and wealth of knowledge available within everyday Calgarians to contribute to a Calgary-made solution that is sensitive to neighbourhood nuances. Cllr Wong is adamant in his belief that these are our neighbours, both housed and unhoused citizens, and there is great potential to tap into other people and give them something to focus all that compassion towards. More details and invitation to follow. Stay tuned!
In the interim, we encourage you to share your feedback through DI's engagement intake and/or issue a letter to email@example.com, and cc' your area MLA [for MLA Honourable Joe Ceci: firstname.lastname@example.org] and the Office of the President & CEO of Alberta Health Services at ahs.corp@albertahealthservices.
Categories: Updates, Ward 7, downtown, safety