As reported by the Ottawa Citizen, the city of Ottawa in Canada will spend $200,000 CAD to provide naloxone kits to their officers this year. Police chiefs hope that the province will reimburse them for this cost. The Ontario government recently approved an additional $222 million CAD to combat the opioid crisis in their province with the largest portion of the funds being earmarked to help long-term addicts.
Ottawa police, who have seen fatal fentanyl overdoses stretch from downtown to the beginning of the suburbs, decided it was important to distribute the kits to the officers. Chief Charles Bordeleau said, “We continue to see an increase in the amount of fentanyl and counterfeit drugs in our community. Officers are increasingly involved in calls where people are in overdose and medical interventions are required.” Chief Bordeleau reported that to date only one officer who had received both training and a kit needed to use it and that the individual was successfully revived.
Fentanyl has been making its presence known in Ottawa and throughout Ontario province. In February 2017, The Star reported warnings from officials about counterfeit pills made with fentanyl being found in the city. In June 2017, CBC News reported about another bust where a pill press capable of pressing 20,000 fake pills in a single hour was seized and in August 2017, they reported on calls from police and community groups to declare a fentanyl crisis in the province.
Public Health Ontario recently launched an online Interactive Opioid Tool which shows that fentanyl officially became the deadliest drug in the province starting in 2015. In 2014, Dilaudid was the region’s most dangerous drug and heroin had the title the year before that. The Ottawa Sun reported that Ontario government has previously come under fire for failing to track the opioid crisis in real time and although this online tool does not achieve that goal, it does help to make long-term trends apparent.