Police stress to call 911 immediately if you see someone overdosing — and don’t worry about legal issues
Naloxone is used to save someone’s life if they are experiencing an opioid overdose, a crisis that is getting worse. Already this year, the Cobourg Police Service administered naloxone twice.
Acting staff-sergeant from the Cobourg Police Service, Brent Allison, says statistics from last year show two people die every day in Ontario from an opioid overdose, many of which could have been prevented if medical attention was received quickly.
However, police say witnesses to an overdose often don’t call 911 for fear of getting into trouble. This is why the Government of Canada enacted the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose law that protects them.
“In may of 2017, this Act was passed, and if you call 911 for a medical emergency, obviously if somebody is suffering from an overdose, you are going to be protected from certain acts of legislation,” said Allison.
This includes exemption from charges of possession of a controlled substance or parole violations to name a few.
“We want people to get medical aid immediately so we are not going to be concerned about charging people with possession of drugs,” said Allison.
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that the national death toll from opioids could surpass 4,000 in 2017 — far higher than 2016’s total of over 2,800 deaths.
If you are an opioid user or know someone who is, you can pick up a free naloxone kit at most pharmacies across the city, community-based organizations or provincial correctional facilities. You can visit the Ontario website for more information.
Police stress if you see someone experiencing an overdose, use naloxone if you have it, call 911 immediately and don’t be concerned about any legal issues because you could be saving someone’s life.
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