Halton police handing out Naloxone kits to help prevent overdoses in Oakville, Burlington, Milton

By

Published May 19, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Halton police touted their anti-overdose program in their 2022 Annual Report released earlier this week.

The program sees Naloxone kits being handed out, free and without any tracking information, to anyone released from central lockup since last November.

According to the report, rates of opioid-related harm, particularly fatal overdoses, have increased significantly in recent years, both in Halton and nationwide. Without a fundamental change in approach, this critical public health and safety issue is widely expected to persist – and cost lives.

“The need for the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) to adopt an organization-wide strategy to address the opioid crisis led to the establishment of our Overdose Coordination Group (OCG) in 2019,” said the report.

Research has shown certain populations in Ontario experienced a disproportionate increase in opioid-related harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. These populations included those experiencing incarceration and those recently released from custody.

Research has also shown that when Naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, is readily available and promptly administered, opioid overdoses are rarely fatal.

The OCG determined the need for, and opportunity to introduce, a long-term program that encompasses prevention, emergency response, risk intervention, and social development to support members of this vulnerable population who are managing substance misuse.

Special constables who work out of central lockup became the latest HRPS members to receive specialized training in this vital first-aid tool. This training not only encompassed how to use the kits, but how to connect those interested with additional community supports.

All uniform HRPS members have been trained in the administration of Naloxone since 2018.

In its first two months, 59 Naloxone kits were distributed through the CLU program, no questions asked, no records kept.

INhalton's Editorial Standards and Policies