Sometimes you need to do the right thing
One of the more unpleasant aspects of downtown Calgary, is the huge drug and homeless problem the city has. You can walk down almost any downtown street and the number of homeless and people high on drugs is a common sight. Today was no exception and as I walked down Stephen Avenue, one of Calgarys busiest tourist hotspots, I came across an all too common sight. I watched as a lady injected herself in the arm as I walked past her, and despite the sign outside the pub where she was, it clearly wasn’t going to be her happy hour! I’d walked about 50 metres further down the road, when I turned and noticed she’d collapsed in a heap onto her bag.
I walked back to check on her; she was still breathing but making weird sounds. Now I’ve seen enough people on the streets, high or dosed up with something or other, to know she was just tripping, but I felt that I needed to get her some form of help regardless as she seemed very unstable.
DOAP teams (Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership)
In Calgary, we have the DOAP teams (Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership) who are part of the Alpha House Society, a non-profit charitable agency that provide safe and caring environments for people affected by drug or alcohol addictions. DOAP was Initiated in 2005 as a mobile response to street level intoxication and consists of three mobile teams and one team dedicated to City Transit platforms (Main Team, Beltline Team, and Downtown Team).
They work closely with Calgary Police Services and Emergency Medical Services to reduce unnecessary and inappropriate uses off these services. They mainly respond to calls from the public, businesses, community members and other homeless-serving agencies. They also help facilitate an individual’s access and entry to the local service systems of shelters, health care, addiction treatment and supportive housing.
Last year, the DOAP Program conducted 20,759 transports and saved countless numbers of overdoses and helped prevent many more incidents of self harm. Despite funding issues, they respond whenever asked and provide an invaluable service to the community.
They responded within minutes of me calling, and helped the lady to come round and ensured she was OK before helping her to her feet and making sure she was able to carry on with her day. I was in two minds if I should photograph the scene, but I think its a good honest record of the good work DOAP teams do, so I had no issues or conflict of conscience on this occasion.
How you can help
If you want to help, donate or find out more about what the DOAP teams do you can visit their website or better still add their phone number to your contacts 403-998-7388 and reach out next time you see someone in need.