A supervised injection site is a matter of when – not if – as far as the chief of the Saskatoon Tribal Council is concerned.
“It’ll happen in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, all the major cities. And Saskatoon is going to be one of the cities – whether we like it or not,” Chief Felix Thomas said Wednesday.
“With major cities, there’s major issues and major solutions that have to be implemented.”
Thomas said safe injection sites would help lower Saskatchewan’s rate of HIV-AIDS, currently the highest in Canada.
“Safe injection sites aren’t the only way to do that, but they are a part of the solution,” Thomas said.
The federal government announced an end this week to many restrictions that kept cities from getting injections sites. Even so, there are still a number of hurdles to clear before a supervised safe injection site could be established in Saskatoon.
“The feds announced the changes, but they didn’t announce any funding increases to implement this project,” said Jason Mercredi, associate director with AIDS Saskatoon. “So I’m hoping that announcement is going to come down the way.”
The STC, AIDS Saskatoon and members of the city’s medical community have formed an informal committee looking into how to move forward.
“One of the things we’re going to have to do is talk to clients we currently serve, to see if they’re going to use such a facility as this,” Thomas said.
Thomas noted they are still nowhere near determining any proposed location for a safe injection site in Saskatoon.