from Southern Georgian Bay OPP
Members of the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have recently investigated a number of drug-related deaths in our communities. Although responding officers are trained in the use of Naloxone and have the on-scene support of area Paramedic and Fire Services, not all lives have been saved in these incidents.
Since early 2017, an opioid overdose crisis has been sweeping across Canada, and our region has not been immune to this crisis. Addiction to opioids, and especially the increasing use of fentanyl, is an urgent public health situation in our communities.
Detachment members would like to raise opioid public awareness with a focus on the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA). Observers of an overdose may hesitate to call 911 in fear of police involvement. The GSDOA provides some legal protection for individuals who seek emergency help during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose.
“The opioid crisis does not discriminate and affects people from all walks of life in our communities. If you witness an overdose – do not hesitate to call 911 in fear of legal repercussions, please stay and make that 911 call for emergency assistance”– Inspector Joseph Evans, Interim Detachment Commander, Southern Georgian Bay OPP
The Act protects the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave from the overdose scene before help arrives, as well as anyone else who is at the scene when help arrives. Additional information about the GSDOA, can be found by visiting: www.opp.ca/overdose and OPP social media accounts.
The OPP is upholding its commitment to the Ontario Mobilization and Engagement Model of Community Policing and is using a collaborative approach to help disseminate this public awareness campaign. Numerous OPP detachments are partnering with other organizations in their community to help the OPP better connect with those directly impacted by this Act.
The GSDOA provides protection against charges for:
• Possessing drugs for your own use; and
• Violating conditions of your parole, bail, probation or conditional sentence for a simple drug possession charge.
The GSDOA does not provide protection against charges for:
• Trafficking illegal drugs;
• Offences other than drug possession;
• Any outstanding arrest warrants; and
• Violating conditions of your parole, bail, probation or conditional sentence for an offence that is not simple possession.
Opioid overdoses continue to claim the lives of thousands of people across Ontario and Canada. The statistics and numbers below do not capture the profound distress being felt by those impacted.
● In 2019, 3,823 lives were lost in Canada due to opioid related overdoses
● In 2019, more than 21,000 suspected opioid-related overdoses occurred in Canada
An overdose is preventable. Knowing the real facts about drugs and what to do when you see someone experiencing an overdose does save lives.