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Police able to administer naloxone without SIU probe

November 15, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Written By JOSHUA SANTOS

Police officers are now able to carry and administer naloxone in response to an opioid overdose without facing a criminal investigation.

The provincial government amended Ontario Regulation 267/10, under the current Police Services Act, according to a news release.

“No one should have to face unfair repercussions just because they are doing their job and trying to save a life,” said Sylvia Jones, MPP for Dufferin-Caledon and minister of community safety and correctional services at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel’s Forest Hill Ballroom on Tuesday, Nov. 13. “This one amendment will enable police officers to carry out their duties without fear of facing a criminal investigation, but more importantly, it will also help save countless lives.”

“In addition to helping police officers, this change will ensure individuals suffering drug overdoses receive crucial treatment in a timely manner.”

Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, such as fentanyl, oxycodone or heroin, if used within a short period following an opioid overdose.

Officers were previously required to be investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in an incident which a civilian died after naloxone is administered. Chiefs of Police will no longer be required to automatically notify SIU when a police officer has administered naloxone or other emergency first aid to a person who dies or suffers a serious injury, provided there was no interaction that could have caused the death or serious injury.

“An unnecessary SIU investigation in these cases can add to the trauma experienced by an officer who has just witnessed a death and is then prevented from speaking to any counselor, therapist or other person until after the SIU investigation is completed,” said Jones.

“Delays of support in these situations are unacceptable to our government. Our government is bringing forward regulations to ensure police officers who naloxone to save a life will no longer be subject to any SIU investigation if an officer’s only involvement with the person was to administer help.”

Naloxone does not affect non-opioids. Administering naloxone to a person who is unconscious because of a non-opioid overdose for other reasons is unlikely to harm them. The SIU will continue to investigation civilian deaths where other factors are present, such as if there was any use of force against the person who received naloxone or if a person dies while in police custody or detention.

When this regulation was written, naloxone was rarely used as a life saving measure,” said Rob Jamieson, president of the Ontario Provincial Police Association in a news release. “We are very pleased that the government is taking a fair and common-sense approach to oversight with this update to the Police Services Act.”

The SIU is a police oversight organization, independent of the police that conducts criminal investigations into circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury or death.

Representatives of policing agencies were in attendance

         

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