Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jan 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Liz Monteiro
Page: B1


WATERLOO REGION - Waterloo Regional Police officers will be carrying nasal
naloxone beginning in February.

Front-line officers are currently going through training on naloxone - a
drug used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, said
Insp. Mike Haffner.

The training is being provided at police headquarters on Maple Grove Road
by local paramedics, he said.

"We want the ability to save an individual's life," Haffner added.

Local paramedics have lifesaving naloxone kits and can provide someone
overdosing with a naloxone injection. But often police are the first
responders to arrive at drug overdose calls.

The nasal naloxone is the latest tool to assist those who are overdosing
on opioids. At the centre of the opioid crisis is the highly potent drug

Police say fentanyl is more deadly than other drugs that have hit local
streets - such as crack cocaine, meth and OxyContin.

In British Columbia, a fentanyl epidemic is leading to record-setting
overdose death rates. Last year, 914 people died of an opioid overdose.

Locally, about 26 people died of an opioid overdose but paramedics are
responding to more calls related to opioids. In November, paramedics
attended to 57 calls over drug overdoses.

Police say the number of fentanyl seizures is also climbing. In 2015,
there were 12 seizures - six patches and six in powder form.

Last year, police had 69 fentanyl seizures with almost all being powdered
fentanyl. Fifteen other drugs were sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences
in Toronto, but police suspect the drug is fentanyl.

The latest seizure occurred Jan. 12 when the drugs and guns team of
officers arrested a 34year-old Kitchener man on Stirling Avenue. In a
locked box, police found four ounces of powdered fentanyl - a large
seizure considering a few granules is deadly.

The man also had about $15,000 in cash and a loaded handgun. Police also
found methamphetamine. Police searched houses on Courtland Avenue East and
Fairview Avenue and found additional weapons, and $47,000 worth of
fentanyl, methamphetamine, marijuana and psilocybin.

When police found the fentanyl, the locked box was put in the cruiser. The
officer opened his window because of the chemical smell but was overcome
by the strong odour and stopped the car on the side of the road, Haffner

Haffner said the officer was treated and released from hospital for mild
fentanyl exposure.

Haffner said police are also concerned about the well-being of their
officers and the training is assisting police in handling the drug.

Also, offering nasal naloxone to those who may be overdosing can assist
family members or friends of users, Haffner said.

"We want to get the information out there" so that people know about
naloxone and how it can save them, he said.
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