Recent overdoses highlight need for safe consumption site, says Regina’s Newo Yotina Centre

Regina continues to see overdose numbers skyrocket, as the city recorded four fatal overdoses over the span of three days last week.

The city’s Newo Yotina Friendship Centre has been advocating for a safe consumption site, in an effort to curb the number of overdoses.

Executive Director Michael Parker says the latest numbers show just how bad the city’s drug problem is.

“The “front line” is in alleys, and that’s why it’s police and EMS who are responding to it,” said Parker. “The whole point of what we’re setting up is so that it doesn’t have to be in those kinds of places, and things can be responded to in a much more expedient way, and to prevent it from happening to begin with.”

Parker says even before the pandemic, overdoses were an issue in the province, adding that’s what inspired them to try and open a safe consumption site.

He says every fatal overdose takes a toll on Friendship Centre staff, but it has made them more determined than ever to find a solution.

“We’ve lost clients, we’ve had staff members who’ve lost family members to fatal overdoses,” said Parker. “It can weigh on folks, but we’re determined to keep pushing forward.”

Parker says having a safe injection site in the city will go a long way in helping people overcome their addictions and prevent them from dying from overdoses.

“The drug supply is getting increasingly toxic, it’s becoming more and more dangerous,” said Parker. “So having a site like ours where we can be talking with people, and really help minimize the harm, minimize the risk, so that if people are at the point where they can head on a path of recovery, then they can.”

More details on Newo Yotina’s safe injection site are expected Tuesday afternoon.

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