The Toronto Police Service has started to phase in the deployment of naloxone, a life-saving medication which can be used to temporarily block the effects of opioids and prevent an overdose death, to uniformed police officers in the downtown core where overdose calls for service are highest.
“A phased rollout assists in alleviating public and officer concerns regarding opioid safety issues, particularly in neighbourhoods surrounding supervised consumption sites,” explained Toronto Police Service Inspector Paul MacIntyre. “Our calls for service regarding overdoses are up, year-to-date, from 903 in 2017 to 1,024 this year. It’s important we provide our members with this lifesaving drug until medical assistance is available.”
Specialized squads (Emergency Task Force, Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force, Drug Squad, and Police Dog Services) and all supervisors/sergeants across the city will be included in this first phase of deployment. There will be 1,034 officers equipped with naloxone on their utility belt.
“Now, along with Fire and EMS, the Toronto Police Service will be equipped with naloxone,” said Inspector MacIntyre. “Uniformed members, in this first phase of deployment, will be able to help those who find themselves in an overdose situation, by administering naloxone, then helping them get the follow-up medical attention they will need once consciousness is regained.”
Naloxone is used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid drugs such as fentanyl, percocet, morphine, methadone, heroin, etc. It’s important for the public to be aware that naloxone is not useful in reversing overdoses of non-opioid drugs like amphetamines, cocaine, etc.