It has taken a while to get going, but an overdose prevention site is now running.
The site, located in downtown Regina at the Newo Yotina Friendship Centre, started operations last week.
Friendship Centre Director Michael Parker says they wanted to start with a “soft opening”.
“We wanted to focus our attention on getting things open and just letting a few people know.” Parker said. “It’s like when a restaurant has a soft opening. That’s the kind of approach we took by using word-of-mouth.
The site, which is open from 9 a.m until 4 p.m Monday to Friday, will offer supervision to drug users with safe supplies like clean needles being made available. Parker adds the facility will also have early medical intervention if a user should show symptoms of an overdose.
With overdoses continuing to be a big problem in Regina, Parker is hoping the centre can keep going. He says they have enough money now, but he doesn’t know if that will be the case past September saying a minimum of $50,000 is needed to extend operations past that date.
22 people have died as a result of overdoses in Regina in 2021. In 2020, 114 people died.
Parker says a site like this is absolutely imperative and that what is needed now is to build trust amongst users so they come in with the right frame of mind.