Good Samaritan Overdose Act about saving lives in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills

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Published May 5, 2022 at 12:02 pm

The number of suspected overdoses and deaths related to the drug poisonings continue to climb in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

Already this year, officers with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) have responded to 150 suspected overdoses involving either illicit substances, prescription drugs and/or over-the-counter medications.

Of those, 18 people died.

A trend in fatal and non-fatal drug poisonings that, if it continues, will see those numbers climb to 445 overdoses and more than 50 lives lost by the end of this year.

Numbers that are up substantially.

In 2021, Halton police responded to 361 suspected drug poisonings (a 50 per cent increase over 2020). Seven lives were lost to suspected overdoses.

These are numbers, that more importantly, represent family members, loved ones, neighbours, friends and colleagues.

And on the anniversary the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act became a law in 2017, Halton police are reminding the community that it’s about saving lives and that means calling for help when someone is experiencing a drug overdose.

“We want to take this opportunity to remind you that it is okay to call for help if you witness someone experiencing an overdose,” Halton police said in a release. “We also understand that someone witnessing an overdose may be afraid to call for help for fear that they will be charged with drug possession. That simply is not the case.

“In the past two years, we have not laid a single simple possession charge in the course of responding to a suspected overdose.”

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act applies to anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose, and provides some legal protection for the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave the scene before help arrives.

The Act also protects anyone else at the scene when help arrives.

The Act can shield you from:

  • Charges for possession of a controlled substance
  • Breach of conditions regarding simple possession of controlled substances in pre-trial release, probation orders, conditional sentences, and/or parole
  • Taking action when someone appears to be overdosing is important.

Residents are asked to administer naloxone if they have it and call 9-1-1. Stay with the person until help arrives. Emergency responders, including Halton police, are equipped with naloxone.

The life-saving medication can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose until the victim can get to a hospital for treatment.

It is recommended that naloxone be used in all suspected drug poisonings, due to the possibility of opioid contamination or poisoning. Learn where to get a free naloxone kit here.

To learn more about how to prevent an overdose, visit the HRPS website.

 

 

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