Regina sees over 100 overdoses a month, says Board of Police Commissioners report

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Regina sees over 100 overdoses a month, says Board of Police Commissioners report
Recent numbers released for the city's crime statistics include data for drug overdoses and how the Regina Police Service plans to increase community reporting – Jan 25, 2023

During a recent Regina Police Service (RPS) Board of Police Commissioners meeting, the chief of police revealed that Regina regularly deals with more than a hundred drug overdoses a month.

“We still have to recognize that well over 100 overdoses a month in our community is still a significant problem,” RPS Chief Evan Bray. “Our police service is constantly working on reducing the amount of illicit drugs in the community.”

According to a recent Board of Police Commissioners report, in December 2022, there were 121 drug overdoses in the city, police attended to 28 occurrences and there were 12 apparent deaths associated with the drug overdoses. Over 60 per cent of the occurrences happened in the central part of Regina.

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“We need to find a way to help people get healthy. We need to really take the lens of health and put it over this problem and dig into (it),” he said. “It may be one-on-one support, it may be intensive work, but … the justice system isn’t going to fix this problem.

At 118, the latest number of fatal overdoses for 2022 is a significant drop from 2021 when Regina experienced 164 fatal drug overdoses, but chief Bray isn’t celebrating the news.

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“I think we are far from calling it a success. There could be a lot of factors contributing to that decrease,” he said. “But let’s hope that momentum continues.”

The RPS initiated a program called the Virtual Police Reporting System in June 2022 which allows people to speak to a police officer via the internet.

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“That has evolved into an online reporting system where you go to our website and you can report a crime, and if it meets a specific mandate or specific criteria,” said RPS Staff Sgt. Pierre Beauchesne. “So, a member of the public can report this crime from the comforts of their own home, the privacy of their office, and speak with that police officer virtually anytime. That is convenient and safe and safe and private for them.”

The province announced on Dec. 1, 2022, that the Saskatchewan Drug Task Force is providing $650,000 to fund initiatives for the Overdose Outreach Teams pilot project and will run until May 15 in Regina and Saskatoon.

“The Overdose Outreach Teams are an important tool to help people access supports and care that they need to start on a path of recovery and healing,” stated Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley in a December release. “Establishing these teams is part of our commitment to helping people who are living with addictions by improving access to addictions and harm reduction services.”

According to the report, for the month of December 2022 there were 1,681 traffic stops, 532 calls for domestic conflict, 193 missing person reports, 137 missing people, 138 suicide calls, 53 firearm seizures, 12 violence with firearms calls and 54 drug seizures.

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