The number of drug overdose cases, including fatalities, that involve opiods is increasing in Ontario. Police statistics indicated that opiod addiction is one of the fastest-growing drug problems in Ontario now.
August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day and the OPP has information available at www.opp.ca/overdose and www.overdoseday.com on how to recognize a possible drug overdose situation. Police also want to remind the public that the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA), which became law in 2017, provides some legal protection for those seeking emergency help dealing with a drug overdose incident.
“The intention of the GSDOA is to reduce the fear of police attending those overdose events,” stated an OPP information brief, “and encourage people to seek life-saving assistance and to stay with the victim in the event of an overdose. Even if you’ve taken drugs or have some on you, the GSDOA can protect you.”
The GSDOA can provide protection for charges against: possession of drugs for personal, parole or bail or probation violations for simple drug possession, if the circumstances warrant when a person is trying to get help for themselves or someone else in a possible drug overdose case.
The GSDOA does not provide protection against charges of: trafficking, any other offences besides drug possession, any outstanding arrest warrants, parole, bail, probation violations for offences that are not just simple possession of drugs.
Police urge people to call 911 if they see or know of possible drug overdose incident.