Why a mom supportive of Saskatoon's safe consumption says she is also urging her kids to be cautious
Published Wednesday, October 21, 2020 4:19PM CST
SASKATOON -- The city’s first safe consumption site is into its third week of operation and while those working at the site say it’s gone very smoothly, a mom living in the area is concerned about how safe it is for kids in the community. Faith Eagle has two kids, one in high school and 11-year-old Jonathan who walks to and from St. Mary’s school every day.
“There’s a lot of people hanging out there’s. There’s a lot of people not wearing masks and there’s a lot of people strung out. There’s a lot of people dealing with addictions and sometimes it doesn’t feel safe,” Faith Eagle told CTV News.
Eagle says she had to teach her two kids how to be safe with extra people around who may be under the influence of drugs.
“I taught him a route to go and I walked by with my daughter so that she gets the feeling so that she doesn’t tense up when she goes past. I said this how you walk, and this is where you go.”
Jonathan who is in Grade 7, says the route his mom gave him is about four blocks out of the way for him but knows it’s what he has to do.
“My mom told me to turn left and go over there to get to school and ignore people that are hanging around there,” Jonathan told CTV News.
Eagle says, she even has other parents along the route from her house to the school that she’ll check in with to see if her son is on his way and safe. She says she could walk with him, but thinks it’s important for him to learn how to be safe in his own neighbourhood.
Increasingly necessary now she says because she’s noticed more people hanging around the safe consumption building including the street and alley behind it since opening at the beginning of October. However, that’s not the case according to Prairie Harm Reduction Associate Director Kayla Demong.
“There’s been no change in traffic around the building. We have security cameras out front and out back which are monitored consistently and we’ve been in constant communication with police and people in the neighbourhood and there’s been no report of any differences with people being more so outside of the building than usual,” Demong told CTV News.
She says opening has gone very smoothly and about 8-10 people come into the site every day which is lower because of COVID-19 capacity limits.
One of Eagle’s concerns is that people who are using drugs may leave the site high and potentially paranoid then head out onto the street where children could be walking to or from school with St. Mary’s less than two blocks southeast of the site and Pleasant Hill School about four blocks west. Demong says staff ensure those using the site are supported after they use.
“We have a very unique site here in Saskatoon. People go right from the consumption room into our drop-in space. In our drop-in space, we have snacks and coffee a comfy couch. They can access our support workers there too.”
While Eagle says she doesn’t want people to judge drug users and thinks It’s important to see them as human beings who are struggling, she still wants to ensure that parents living in the area educate their kids about dealing with the new addition to the neighbourhood.