The safe consumption site at the Newo Yotina Friendship Centre has been given approval to run for another year, but its Executive Director is still hoping for more funding.
Michael Parker says it’s exciting to be able to provide the support many people need for at least a year longer.
“It’s just a relief, it’s certainly been our intention to continue operating, we all knew the overdose crisis wasn’t just going to end in September, so that’s good news for us,” said Parker. “We also have a funding approval that we’re waiting to hear back on from the City of Regina that would help provide the funding for the next year as well.”
Parker says letting the site run for another year is a step in the right direction, but there needs to be more funding for it.
Parker says the centre has been very helpful in preventing overdoses since it’s opened.
“We’ve been able to do 154 supervised consumptions,” said Parker. “As well as a number of other services including providing naloxone kits for folks, doing some first aid with people, helping connect them with other services, including what we have existing here and the detox centre down the street.”
Without funding the centre can only operate certain hours of the day, resulting in many people not getting the help they need, when they need it.
Parker says addiction is a 24/7/365 issue, the centre needs to be able to be open longer than eight hours a day, which the new funding would allow them to do.
“So, if that’s approved, then we’re going to be able to open longer in the day,” said Parker. “And I think that has an amplifying effect of how beneficial that could be because there’s folks that certainly would benefit from the impacts of service here, but aren’t because of the limited hours.”
Over 200 people in Saskatchewan are believed to have died of overdoses so far this year, according to recent numbers from the Saskatchewan Coroners Service