The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) joined individuals and organizations worldwide to mark International Overdose Awareness Day, held each year on August 31.
Observers of an overdose may hesitate to call 911 for fear of police involvement. To encourage people to seek life-saving assistance, the OPP is reminding citizens of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA). In 2019, the OPP created posters, information cards, and community safety videos to help educate the public and community agencies. These resources as well as other 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,” said the OPP.
The GSDOA does provide protection against charges for:
· Possessing drugs for your own use
· 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
· 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.
In the last three years there has been an 81% increase in suspected opioid occurrences in OPP jurisdiction alone.
Since September 2017, the OPP has saved 170 lives by administering naloxone to overdose victims.
"The Ontario Provincial Police recognizes the importance of saving lives and has embedded the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act into our policies and procedures. We encourage members of the public to educate their family and friends on why they should always call 911 if they suspect an overdose. By doing so, you could help save a life," offered OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.