Alberta’s supervised consumption services were discussed on Wednesday as members of communities in Edmonton got the opportunity to share their concerns.

“I’m picking up needles off of my property, which is about four or five blocks from the supervised injection site,” said Dan Eckel, a resident of the Central McDougall neighbourhood.

“We continue to have higher crime stats, there’s just been an increase in disorder and [the supervised consumption sites] were supposed to help us, and so the numbers should be going down and they are not.”

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There were residents sharing their thoughts and opinions from both sides of the issue. Each speaker was given three minutes to address the panel.

Wednesday’s visit was one of six stops on the supervised consumption services review committee’s provincial tour. The committee, chaired by former Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht, heard feedback on several issues such as crime, overdoses and public safety.

Edmonton has four consumption sites that have stirred up a fair amount of controversy, but those on the frontlines of the drug addiction issue say they do more good than harm.

“The fact is that needle debris has gone down, crime rates have gone down,” explained Sam Hardemen, a registered nurse. “I know the panel wants to hear people’s opinions [on] whether these things have actually been reduced or not, but the facts are there.”

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Edmonton is the last stop on the provincial tour. The public consultations continue Friday at the Edmonton Inn and Conference Centre.

A report is expected to be submitted to the provincial government by late November or early December.

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