Pubdate: Wed, 20 Dec 2017
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The London Free Press
Author: Trevor Wilhelm
Page: A6


Officers fear SIU probe if they can't revive opioid OD victims with

WINDSOR - The fear of officers getting into a legal jam for trying to
save someone from an overdose has made the Windsor police service
hesitant to embrace a medication that fights the effects of opioids.

Police officials are not rushing to use naloxone, despite the
province's offer to pay for it, because officers who try and fail to
revive someone from an overdose would face an investigation by the
Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

"The No. 1 concern is the SIU aspect of it, no doubt about it," said
Deputy Chief Vince Power.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said this week that if trends
continue, Canada could see more than 4,000 opioid-related deaths this
year. Ontario announced this month it will pay to provide frontline
officers and firefighters with naloxone.

Windsor fire Chief Steve Laforet said his organization will decide in
early 2018 whether to equip firefighters with naloxone.

Paramedics with Essex-Windsor Emergency Medical Services have been
carrying the medication for a few years. Essex County OPP started
rolling out naloxone kits to officers in September.

The SIU's mandate is to investigate any case of serious injury, sexual
assault or death involving police officers.

British Columbia's police watchdog changed its policies last year to
exempt from investigation officers who attempt life-saving measures
like CPR or naloxone, but don't succeed. Ontario's SIU has not.

"The SIU is mandated to investigate all deaths and serious injuries
involving the police," spokesperson Monica Hudon said in an email.

"This would include cases where the extent of alleged involvement was
simply the administration of a medication such as naloxone.

"Whether or not the administration of the drug by a police officer was
the only interaction with a person who subsequently died or suffered a
serious injury is for the SIU to determine."
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