Saskatoon safe drug consumption site set to open Oct. 1

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It's a scaled back model, but Saskatoon is set to get a safe drug consumption site on Oct. 1.

The planned facility will be located at the AIDS Saskatoon property on 20th Street West. The group is changing its name to Prairie Harm Reduction to reflect its broader mandate.

Organizers had originally envisioned a centre with two paramedics operating 24 hours a day, year round.

Instead, it will have one paramedic and be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday, said Jason Mercredi, executive director with Prairie Harm Reduction.

"You know, we need to think bigger in this province, in terms of how we tackle these issues," Mercredi said Tuesday.

"That's part of why we went with the consumption site in the first place. We were told when we were first doing it that it would never happen."

Mercredi said a fundraising campaign is already underway, with $10,045 of a targeted $60,000 needed to run the site raised. Prairie Harm Reduction is planning on raising that amount each year if the province declines to offer any support.

It has launched an online clothing store. The money raised will go to pay for the paramedic position, with the exception of a line of clothing dedicated to prairie nurses.