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Lethbridge city committee votes down Moms Stop the Harm resolution

A resolution put forward by Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH) Lethbridge will not move on to city council, after a unanimous vote by the community safety standing policy committee (SPC).

Council was being asked to write the federal government, supporting the declaration of a public emergency on the opioid crisis, decriminalization of drugs for personal use and implementing safe supply in Canada.

“What we have going on now is not going to make our numbers go down,” said Lori Hatfield, the Lethbridge lead for MSTH.

“We should be advocating and implementing more services, not cutting back.”

Read more:
Virtual memorial honours more than 1K Alberta opioid crisis victims

Among the concerns voiced by SPC members, including Coun. Blaine Hyggen, were the potential consequences of safe supply.

“Dr. Vincent Lam, who directs Toronto’s Coderix Medical Clinic and specializes in opioid and behavioural therapies for substance abuse, stated, ‘I do not feel that is wise… the federal government’s recent embrace of so-called safe supply hydromorphine, another opioid, has increased quantities and lowered its street price to a tenth of what it was,’” Hyggen said at the SPC meeting.

“Before I feel comfortable bringing this to council as a committee member, I would like to make sure (these) questions are answered.”

Global News requested an interview with a committee member but did not hear back by Wednesday afternoon.

According to Alberta’s Substance Use Surveillance System, 48 people in Lethbridge died from opioid-related causes last year.

Through the first two months of this year, that number already reached nine.

Read more:
Canadians care less about opioid addiction than before the COVID-19 pandemic: poll

Hatfield said even a modified resolution would help create change.

“It really behooves me that our city council wouldn’t want to take advantage of what we know is an increasing problem in our city,” Hatfield said.

According to Hatfield, MSTH will continue pressing the provincial and federal governments for action, but the message hits harder from the municipal level.

“The more that the federal government hears from different municipalities, the more awareness it brings to them and makes them realize they need to take a stand and do something about this.”

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