Community survey shows support for safe consumption site, AIDS Saskatoon says
Jason Mercredi of AIDS Saskatoon says the city needs a supervised drug consumption site. (File photo)
Almost three in four Pleasant Hill residents surveyed are in favour of a safe consumption site in the neighbourhood, according to a community consultation by AIDS Saskatoon.
Eighty-seven per cent of drug users would use a site and the preferred location was Pleasant Hill; 27 of 35 community organizations consulted are also in support, AIDS Saskatoon said in a news release.
AIDS Saskatoon plans to move to a new location in the neighbourhood this fall and add a Safe Consumption Site to its services.
The group said it conducted 10 open houses and canvassed 2,281 homes in Pleasant Hill, and in total, 263 residents completed surveys.
The most common reason for support was to have a space to discard needles. Residents also felt the site would reduce public drug use; reduce overdoses, injuries and deaths; and reduce the potential of HIV and Hepatitis C transmission.
Respondents’ concerns included a potential increase of violence, crime and gang activity in the community, an increase of illicit drugs, a risk to personal and family safety and the reputation of the community.
In response to those concerns, AIDS Saskatoon says it has been meeting with the Saskatoon Police Service and Okihticitawak, an Aboriginal Community Safety group that patrols the Pleasant Hill area, and will work with Needle Safe Saskatoon.
AIDS Saskatoon has also established a Community Safety Advisory Board comprised of 11 organizations and two people who use drugs to advise and respond to community concerns once the site opens.