Lethbridge

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Chapter Chair

Bev Muendel-Atherstone
[email protected]
403-330-2654

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We were so sorry to hear about the passing of Michael Cormican. He was a dedicated champion for our public health care system, including in his role as the long-standing Chair of Friends of Medicare's Lethbridge Chapter.


October 24, 2022 

Members of Alberta’s major health-care unions are joining together to demand that the government of Alberta develop a plan to deal with the crisis in health care. 

EDMONTON – Following the swearing-in of Premier Smith’s cabinet Alberta’s health-care unions are coming together to advocate that the government take steps to fully address the staffing crisis in health  care.  

Leaders of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) and the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA)  along with Friends of Medicare (FOM) are urging the newly announced cabinet to deliver a  comprehensive plan to fix the health-care system which has been thrown into chaos by short-staffing.


Friends of Medicare to participate in events in five cities calling on the provincial government to put people before profit

 


Solidarity with Striking University of Lethbridge Faculty

Friends of Medicare stands in solidarity with University of Lethbridge Faculty Association members who are now on strike


Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy demand end to Alberta’s war on harm reduction

June 26, 2021

CALGARY - June 26 is the Global Day of Action Against Oppressive Drug Policy, Support, Don’t Punish. Today, Albertans are coming together at for the YYC Day of Action, to commemorate and remember the lives that have been lost as a result of this ongoing opioid pandemic, and to call on this government to stop the unjust assault on harm reduction services.
 
Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy, business owners and community members are marking this occasion with the release of a joint statement, to renew our calls to stop the unjust assault on harm reduction services. Harm reduction, including supervised consumption services (SCS) not only save lives, but they also help to keep people healthy, connect them with services, and ultimately saves money for the health system.
 

On August 31, 2020—a day marking both International Overdose Awareness Day and the closure of North America's busiest supervised consumption site—over 200 harm reduction supporters and advocates signed an open letter to the Alberta government to denounce the decision to cut all funding to and close Lethbridge’s SCS, and urge them to immediately reverse the decision and reinstate appropriate funding and support new leadership to scale up SCS in Lethbridge.

Read that letter in it's entirety here:


If you or your organization would like to add your names as signatories to this open letter, please email [email protected].
 

 
Original Sent: July 16, 2020
 
To:  Jason Luan Minister, Tyler Shandro
Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Minister of Health
CC: Premier Jason Kenney
Premier of Alberta
 

 
Open Letter: Defunding Lethbridge ARCHES SCS


Government setting the stage for the closure and possible relocation of existing supervised consumption services

As reported in the media todayPremier Jason Kenney is already setting the stage for what could be the closure or relocation of Supervised Consumption Services (SCS) in Alberta. While the Supervised Consumption Services Review Committee was tasked with reporting to the government by the end of 2019, their report has yet to be publicly released.
 

FOM welcomes Lethbridge City Council’s common-sense vote on continued provincial funding for SCS

 
On Monday, August 19, Lethbridge city council voted on a motion to request the provincial government halt funding to the city’s supervised consumption site, subject to the findings of the government’s forthcoming “socioeconomic” review. The motion, introduced by Councillor Blaine Hyggen, was defeated Monday evening by a vote of 6-3.  

“Supervised consumption services are an integral part of a harm reduction strategy — they connect vulnerable Albertans to essential services that will ultimately give them a path to healthier lives,” said Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “We’re glad to see that Lethbridge city council had the common sense to vote down a motion that would have shown a callous disregard for the lives of vulnerable Albertans.”


Funding delays for new supervised consumption services are unacceptable

On Friday, May 31, the UCP government announced that they will be suspending funding for supervised consumption sites currently under development in Medicine Hat and Red Deer, and a mobile consumption site in Calgary. Jason Luan, Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, indicated that his party will also be conducting a review of all existing sites, and that they will be “looking at consumption sites in light of the whole strategy – the overall strategy of intervention and treatment. It is a whole scan, from awareness, prevention and intervention to treatment.” The review has halted the development of the three proposed sites, and its results could impact the continued funding of existing sites across the province.
 
It was a serious escalation in opioid-related deaths in Alberta that prompted a harm reduction response in the form of the approval of supervised consumption services, initially in 3 urban centres: Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. The central tenet of harm reduction is the reduction of stigmas and judgments about drug use and addiction, and is based on the understanding that there are people who engage in these behaviors who are not willing or not able to stop doing so. Harm reduction aims to reduce the health risks associated with these behaviors, such as public safety concerns like public drug use and discarded needles, the transmission and spread of blood-borne infections, overdose, and ultimately death.