06/22/2017 10:47 EDT | Updated 06/22/2017 11:09 EDT

Groups in Lethbridge, Alberta, to make request for safe site for drug consumption

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — An Alberta city is the latest community planning to seek approval to help drug users with a safe consumption site.

A coalition of community groups plan to submit a request for one of the federally regulated sites in Lethbridge at the end of July.

Jill Manning, the managing director of ARCHES (AIDS Outreach Community Harm Reduction Education Support) Society says it's estimated there are about 3,000 individuals who consume drugs in Lethbridge and double that number in southwestern Alberta.

Manning says the overdose rate in the region is 24 per cent higher than anywhere else in Alberta.

The cost of the facility, at $1.5 million per year, would provide a legal consumption site where health professionals could oversee the use of drugs and the safety of users.

Lethbridge Police Inspector Tom Ascroft says the site would require a federal exemption making drug use inside legal.