Local organization working to balance substance use concerns and neighbourhood safety

A West End drop-in site is trying to balance the concern for people who use substances and the need to create a safe neighbourhood for everyone.

1JustCity has started providing supplies to people who are using substances and they are also using education to make sure those supplies are safely disposed of afterward.

"We made the decision to be a safe supplies distribution site," said Lori Abraham, who is the Indigenous cultural program coordinator with the organization.

"We've seen a need in our West End area for access and those who are using substances in the neighbourhood."

Abraham said it is important to try to end the stigma surrounding substance use and if people are going to use, it is important it is done so safely.

Staff with the organization have also been trained to administer Naloxone in case there is an overdose.

"Anyone could be anywhere and using at any point, and if we are equipped and we are knowledgeable and we are educating our community on how to use that and what the Naloxone kit does, we could be potentially be saving lives."

The organization has also been running a clean-up service in the community to help dispose of any needles or other supplies.

Abraham said once a week, a group of volunteers goes out to help clean up the area.

"We want to, at the same time, acknowledge that accountability. That we will be distributing safe use supplies, that we're going out in the community and cleaning up those supplies if we find them in our neighbourhood."

She said those who help with the clean-up have been long-time volunteers, but if people wish to help, they can sign up by contacting the group.