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A last-ditch legal effort to temporarily bar supervised drug-use sites in Alberta from requiring clients to show personal identification has met a dead end in Canada’s top court.

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided it will not hear an injunction application that has already been dismissed in two Alberta courts to pull back the new rule, already in place, amid an ongoing lawsuit.

Two non-profit organizations, Moms Stop The Harm and the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society, filed a legal challenge against the Alberta government last August alleging its updated regulations increase barriers and put lives at risk.

Service providers must now collect personal health numbers from clients, but the government says no one will be turned away without one and that it is standard practice for health services.

Edmonton-based lawyer Avnish Nanda, who represents the plaintiffs, says their focus is now solely on the lawsuit but it could be years before it’s heard.

More than 1,700 drug toxicity deaths were recorded by the province last year – the highest yearly total on record in Alberta.

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