The back and forth over bringing a supervised consumption site to Red Deer continues.
Turning Point and those behind the Red Deer Coalition on the Opioid Crisis say disconnect between what they know and what council thinks they understand is leading to the issue becoming more divisive than necessary.
Stacey Carmichael, Executive Director at Turning Point, says the Coalition’s final report was submitted to Alberta Health at the end of September, with recommendations to come hopefully by the end of this month.
"I believe we did a really robust consultation and we invited folks to come out. Only 114 individuals chose to come out. We invited mayor and council to do a separate session just for them, with no update from most of them, though some council members did come to the ones we held,” she says.
Last week, city council directed the organization to hold better consultations than the seven held in August. Carmichael says once recommendations come out, they will hold the additional consultations are directed.
Meanwhile, Carmichael says fear is dictating our community’s ability to help people.
“I understand we need to consult and that was always our intention is to do more consultations, but I feel like it's not getting the urgency that it needs,” she says, adding that having it become an election issue isn’t really what they envisioned.
"We were really disappointed that that happened only because it's so very important and it can't be an issue that somebody decides to take a stand on to the detriment of folks who are dying,” says Carmichael. “I'm a little worried with a new council that that might happen -- hopefully not -- but it could also go the other way."
Carmichael says it’s good people are talking about it, but she wishes more Red Deerians would get in touch with Turning Point directly and hear what they have to say about it.
“We happen to know a little bit more about what we've got going on than say the mayor and council. We have a really open and transparent organization. We want people to know what we're doing and why we're doing it," she says. "We've done a lot of work and research. We are the local experts."
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