Meili, Moe talk up addictions supports – but don’t mention Prairie Harm Reduction
Prairie Harm Reduction's safe consumption site is pictured Sept. 30, 2020.
SASKATOON -- Neither Sask. Party leader Scott Moe nor NDP leader Ryan Meili committed to funding the province’s first safe consumption site during the leaders’ debate on Wednesday.
Meili referenced a recent conversation with Saskatoon advocate Marie Agioritis, whose son died after ingesting what he thought was OxyContin in 2015.
“She said: ‘You can’t help get people off drugs if they’re dead.’ We need to make sure that people get away from drugs, that we do everything we can to support people to stop using - but also when people are using, that they don’t wind up having an overdose or getting HIV or Hepatitis C,” Meili said.
“That’s why we’re committed to harm reduction, but also to making the investments in prevention, in early assessment, early treatment, and these dedicated mental health and addictions emergency rooms so instead of getting sent away, as we see so often today, people get the help they need and deserve.”
Prairie Harm Reduction opened in Saskatoon on Oct. 2. The original plans for the facility were to be open 24/7 but with a lack of provincial funding is only open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its goal is to connect people to services and get them help they need, as well as giving them a safe and sterile space to consume their drugs.
Meili did not reference the safe consumption site specifically.
Moe said a re-elected Sask. Party government would consider funding it.
“And we would consider it alongside all the other investments that we have made. That we continue to expand on, to ensure that families and family members that are experiencing drug and addictions have the supports that they need,” Moe said.
“This is an investment that’s in the works, it’s an investment that needs to continue regardless of who is in government in the future.”