City Council will invite community members to collaborate on constructive solutions and develop an urgent action plan to tackle emerging issues in the city stemming from the opioid crisis.
Council resolved today to hold a series of facilitated community sessions where stakeholders and interested community members can collaborate on potential solutions and develop a community response strategy that can be implemented quickly. Council also voted today to establish a special committee as soon as possible to address the challenges facing residents, businesses and others in Lethbridge because of the opioid crisis.
"It's time for us, as City Council, to bring people from all sides of this issue together to collaborate on solutions that respect the range of interests that exist and meaningfully address the difficulties we face because of this crisis," says Councillor Rob Miyashiro.
In recent years, Lethbridge has been negatively affected by the escalating opioid crisis. These effects include drug-related behaviour in or around the downtown area and the Supervised Consumption Site as well as increasing petty crime and discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia in public places.
"The ongoing drug crisis is probably one of the most significant challenges our community has ever faced. In addition to the human cost in terms of addictions and overdose deaths, it has created critical and pressing challenges for residents and businesses in our city," says Councillor Jeff Coffman. "We urgently need a community-driven strategy that can be implemented quickly."
The new ad hoc committee will follow the guidelines of Health Canada which give a multi-faceted approach to dealing with the opioid crisis including prevention, harm reduction, enforcement and treatment. Terms of Reference setting out the committee's mandate and structure are to be drafted by the appointed council members and City Manager to be presented at the City Council meeting on September 4.
Any funding required to support the community sessions will be allocated from Council Contingencies.
The Council resolution also notes that the Supervised Consumption Site follows recognized best practices for harm reduction and operates with the approval of the federal government and funding from the provincial government. The City of Lethbridge has no jurisdiction or influence over federally- and provincially-mandated public health practices and operations of the Supervise Consumption Site.
Tara Grindle, Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge
403-320-3910 | firstname.lastname@example.org