SASKATOON – The community support program (CSO) report is out and according to officers, more people in Saskatoon are battling with addictions. The new numbers show calls to the support program spiked in the last two months.
In January, 69 calls related to addiction were made and in February, 58 came in, making up 47 per cent of all calls.
Officers noted they also found an average of 39 new faces on the streets per month. Usually, they’re only helping eight to 10 new people a month.
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“We are definitely seeing individuals coming to our province from other places like Alberta, Manitoba,” said Lesley Prefontaine, CSO supervisor.
She says more people moving to the city for various reasons has an effect on that number. And with the Lighthouse Stabilization Unit cutting back daytime hours, she and others are feeling the pinch.
READ MORE: The Lighthouse reduces hours for unit helping intoxicated clients
In the name of street safety, Randy Pshebylo, committee member of the Riversdale Business Improvement District, is suggesting the support program find a new facility people can voluntarily go to sober up.
“What we’re seeing first-hand is that those that are most vulnerable are being attacked, beaten and robbed and kicked and spat on and that isn’t humane either,” he said .
Pshebylo says some people under the influence keep asking community support officers for help, only to come back hours later, still intoxicated. He compares it to a revolving door.
“What we’re looking for is that there be a network that the CSOs can refer people to, that they can take people to that is safe, that gives that interruption and stops the negative activity on the street, even if it is for 10 or 12 hours,” he said.
The program will be requesting a meeting with the action accord and call on the province to help with funding. The next community support program meeting is in May.