Saskatchewan’s first safe injection site is just months away from opening its doors.
But with the new harm reduction service for drug users in Saskatoon comes a need to be prepared.
Saskatoon police and the organization behind the safe injection site are working together to ensure best practices are put in place, and that police know how to approach policing users of the facility.
“We are skilled and trained with people who are suffering from mental health problems or who have issues with addictions, but to deal with a site of this nature — it’s going to take some education,” says Inspector Cameron McBride of the Saskatoon Police Service.
McBride said the force is relying on the insight of police in other jurisdictions that have safe injection sites in order to prepare foe Saskatoon’s new site. He says they will be training officers before the facility opens.
Jason Mercredi, the executive director for AIDS Saskatoon, which will run the service, says it’s important the site is properly opened. He and McBride are travelling to Vancouver together, home to Canada’s first safe injection site, to learn from that city’s experiences.
Mercredi says the organization won’t open their doors until the city’s police are ready.
He says clients and visitors to the centre will be treated with compassion.