Lethbridge was once home to the busiest supervised consumption site in North America, operated by ARCHES. On August 31, 2020, this supervised consumption site was permanently closed. As the number of overdose deaths in Lethbridge continued to climb at record-breaking rates, harm reductionists and people who use drugs were left wondering where to go.
In September 2020, a handful of former ARCHES employees and clients got together and formed the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society (LOPS) with the mission to keep our neighbours, friends, and loved ones alive. LOPS launched a GoFundMe fundraiser, and within 24 hours saw over $10,000 in donations. With this generous support from the community, LOPS purchased a tent, some furniture, a space heater, and harm reduction supplies. With no time to waste, LOPS set up in a local park and began to provide services.
As the first unsanctioned overdose prevention site to operate in Alberta, the process has not been without significant challenges. LOPS continues to tackle these challenges head on, and they are committed to doing what it takes to keep Lethbridge citizens safe as the overdose crisis, COVID-19 pandemic, and a looming HIV outbreak threaten the lives of those we hold dear to our hearts.
Speaker: Kaley Ann Boudoin
Kaley Ann Boudoin has worked with various harm reduction groups across Alberta since 2015. In September 2020, she was one of the founding organizers of the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society, a volunteer group providing harm reduction services including street outreach and an overdose prevention site. Currently, Ms Boudoin volunteers as the Community Engagement Lead with the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society.
Date and time: Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 10 AM MST
YouTube Live link: https://youtu.be/Gwh3VHuU4Gc
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