February 17th, 2019

Police chief says visit to supervised consumption site ‘enlightening’

By Jeremy Appel on January 18, 2019.


jappel@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNJeremyAppel

As part of ongoing efforts by the Medicine Hat Police Service to combat the opioid crisis, chief Andy McGrogan visited Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site with Mayor Ted Clugston, the police commission heard at its Thursday meeting.

A supervised consumption site for Medicine Hat was announced Tuesday by HIV Community Link. It’s slated to be located in a former restaurant building at 502 S. Railway St.

“It was actually quite enlightening,” McGrogan said of his visit to Lethbridge. “It’s pretty hard to gauge whether that will be indicative of what’s going to happen here, but it was pretty interesting to see how they operate.”

He said the MHPS supports the local supervised consumption site.

“The problem is not going away,” said McGrogan. “Opioid deaths are still a big concern in our community.”

Police are the process of working on their policy concerning safe consumption sites, establishing “some rules of engagement,” he said, adding the MHPS met with members of the HIV Community Link earlier that day.

Insp. Brent Secondiak presented to the commission about local distribution of Naloxone, which reverses opiate overdoses.

According to data presented to the meeting, police administered 67 doses to 53 people in 2018.

“The number has gone up dramatically,” Secondiak observed, adding that some users required more than one dose.

In 2017, the MHPS gave 46 doses to 36 subjects.

“All those people who died from opioid overdose are somebody’s kids, somebody’s friends, and we should do everything we can to help,” said McGrogan.

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