Pubdate: Thu, 06 Jul 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Liz Monteiro
Page: B2


WATERLOO REGION - In the past two months, police officers have
administered the life-saving nasal naloxone six times, saving four

The other two times, officers received the naloxone themselves after
being "contaminated" with the potent drug fentanyl, Police Chief Bryan
Larkin told board members at a Waterloo Regional Police Services Board
on Wednesday.

Naloxone is an antidote to fentanyl and it's being used by paramedics
and now police officers to cope with the rising number of opioid
overdoses in the region.

Since January, 35 people have died of opioid overdoses in the region,
Larkin said. That's nearly as many as for all of 2015.

Many of the overdoses are being linked to fentanyl.

The crisis continues to mount as paramedics and police are being
called out to drug-related calls each day.

"There are about 75 calls a month, that's three plus a day," Larkin

Locally, police created a working group to look at the drug and the
uses of life-saving naloxone.

Boxes of naloxone were ordered from a Mississauga manufacturer at a
cost of $43,000 for the year, Larkin said.

Larkin told the board that talks are being held with the province to
compensate police services for money used to purchase naloxone.

A training program for officers was held and front-line police now
carry naloxone.

Opioid use is a growing concern provincewide. More than 700 people
died in Ontario from opioid-related causes in 2014, a 266 per cent
increase from 2002.

Used as a prescription painkiller, fentanyl is a highly powerful drug
that is now found on the streets; its potency is 100 times that of

The dangers of bootleg fentanyl - an illicit, high-dose opioid being
added to a variety of substances, often without the user knowing - is
particularly concerning.

Drug dealers often mix fentanyl powder with other drugs, such as
heroin or cocaine.
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