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More leeway for police giving naloxone

Police officers who administer naloxone to overdose victims will no longer face automatic investigation in their efforts.

The province has amended the Police Services Act so that such incidents where a civilian dies or suffers serious injury will no longer be investigated by the Special Investigations Unit.

Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, oxycodene or fentanyl.

Whitby PC MPP Lorne Coe says these changes put police officers under the same oversight for naloxone as other first responders such as paramedics and firefighters.

“Our government is making these changes to ensure police do not face unfair repercussions when they are do their job as first responders trying to save lives,” said MPP Coe. “This change will help save countless lives while making sure police officers can do their duty without the fear of facing a criminal investigation.”

The SIU will still investigate incidients where death or serious injuries caused to the overdose victim may have come from other police interaction.

The Ontario Association of Chief of Polices and other law enforcement organizations had been pushing for the changes.

“Ontario’s police leaders welcome today’s announcement, which puts saving lives first. The OACP has always maintained that our police officers deploy naloxone to save the lives of individuals who may be experiencing a drug overdose,” Barrie Police Chief and OACP president Kimberley Greenwood said. “This regulatory change will allow our frontline personnel to continue to uphold their responsibility to save lives without the concern of being subjected to an SIU investigation.”