The leader of the Bear Clan Patrol believes Winnipeg could benefit from safe consumption sites after touring facilities in Western Canada.
James Favel, the executive director of the Bear Clan Patrol, shared his thoughts after visiting facilities in Lethbridge, Alta., and Vancouver, B.C., this past week and learning about how their systems work.
“It was a real eye-opener for me,” Favel said.
“We're looking for more of a model of a barrier-free kind of clinic, and they are running those things out there," Favel said.
Favel said he toured safe sites in Lethbridge and the East Hastings neighbourhood in Vancouver, where he learned how the facilities operate in those locations.
He said the systems offer 45-minute safe consumption booths with health care professionals to help them with the consuming process. He said the sites had detox beds, nurse practitioners and pro-social activities.
During his visit in Vancouver, Favel said he even witnessed someone administer Naloxone, an opioid-reversing drug, to a person on the street.
“It was an incredible experience to witness first-hand,” Favel said.
Favel believed the systems could not only reduce overdoses, but also prevent damage to the health of drug users, like abscesses and blood-borne illnesses.
He thought the environment at the sites will assist those battling addiction and help them reconnect with the community.
“If you give them purpose, there’s a chance for them to come out of that,” Favel said. “I’m trying to learn as much as I can, so I can bring it back here and utilize that knowledge.”
Favel said he will head back to Lethbridge for another visit next week and may attend a conference in Vancouver to learn more.