Ontario’s police watchdog has launched an investigation into the death of a 45-year-old man after police in Mississauga administered him naloxone, which reverses the effects of an opioid drug overdose.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said Peel Regional Police responded to a medical assistance call on April 5 around 11:30 p.m. at a building in the area of Derry Road East and Rexwood Drive.
The SIU said in a media release that officers arrived on scene and performed CPR on the man before administering naloxone. He was pronounced dead just after midnight.
The man’s death comes nearly a month after another man died in Brampton in similar circumstances. Peel police in that case also performed CPR and administered naxolone.
An investigation launched by the SIU following the Brampton death was publicly criticized by the Peel Region paramedics union, which claimed the probe will have a “chilling effect” that could harm those who are vulnerable.
The SIU is an independent enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police that have resulted in death, serious injury or alleged sexual assault.
In a January letter addressed to the SIU, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police president Bryan Larkin wrote that police forces should not have to inform the SIU of deaths or serious injuries if officers’ only interaction with the person was to administer the opioid-blocking drug.
The Ontario Ministry of Health announced in December that naloxone kits would be offered to all 61 police services across the province and all 447 municipal fire departments.
VIDEO: Ontario Police Chiefs and Special Investigations Unit argue over when police should report Naloxone use to the police oversight organization
—With a file from Nick Westoll