Building individual and community capacity, using evidence-informed practices
Turning Point Society is a non-profit registered charity delivering harm reduction and STBBI prevention supplies, services, and programming to vulnerable individuals across Central Alberta. Turning Point (formally the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society) was established in 1988 as a community-based response to Central Alberta’s HIV/AIDS crisis. In addition to health promotion, the charity has since expanded its reach, incorporating programming specific to harm reduction, night reach, rural outreach, overdose prevention, and a women’s program.
For over 30 years, Turning Point has developed relationships with the following priority populations:
- People using substances, including drug injection;
- Street involved individuals;
- Women at risk, with a focus on women of childbearing age;
- Indigenous peoples;
- the LGBTQ2+ community
- Individuals living with, or at risk of sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBI);
- Ethnocultural communities;
- Individuals engaged in the sale, trade, or purchase of sex.
Turning Point continues to identify and support the complex needs of these populations, providing education, supplies, and services with compassion, confidentiality, respect, collaboration, and empowerment.
In the midst of the AIDS pandemic in Canada, community members in Central Alberta saw a need for health promotion and formed the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society (CAANS). This organization not only worked to provide greater awareness and support for those affected by AIDS but to dispel the harmful stigma preventing individuals from addressing their sexual health.
In addition to health promotion, CAANS implemented a Harm Reduction program in 1998 in response to the high rates of transmission of HIV through injection drug use.
With an increasing street-involved population, our community saw a need for a mobile outreach team. In 2010, CAANS developed NightReach, offering homeless individuals and those using drugs critical supplies, referrals, and supports 365 evenings a year.
Our Rural Outreach program was born in 2010 in response to increased cases of drug-related harm in communities across Central Alberta. In addition to individual support, outreach workers sought to build relationships with local service providers to increase individual access to support services.
Our Women’s Program took off in 2015, aimed at supporting pregnant women and 6 months post-pregnancy. A year later, our Women’s Program was opened up to all women of childbearing ages.
With health promotion no longer being the CAANS’ primary focus, the organization updated its name to Turning Point Society – commonly referred to as Turning Point.
In response to Canada’s growing overdose crisis, the community called for the city of Red Deer to establish a facility for monitoring drug consumption and for responding to adverse events, such as an overdose. In 2018, Turning Point implemented its Overdose Prevention program as well as a temporary Overdose Prevention site in collaboration with the city.
The Giving Back program was established in 2020 as a small income opportunity for our clients. Accompanying two Turning Point staff, peer volunteers would walk Red Deer’s downtown to collect needles and other sharps debris and ensure their safe disposal in exchange for a small remuneration.
4611 – 50th Avenue
Red Deer, AB T4N 3Z9
monday – friday
9:15am – 12pm, 1pm – 4:30pm