Norfolk OPP are commending some quick-thinking officers for saving a man’s life with the opioid-antidote naloxone Friday – a dramatic action that comes as departments provincewide mull the potential legal implications of equipping officers with the drug.
Members of the OPP offender transport unit were taking a 29-year-old man to the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre at about 4:46 p.m. Friday when the man went into medical distress.
Officers arrived on scene and determined an opioid overdose was the likely cause. Police immediately administered about three doses of naloxone – a fast-acting drug that blocks the affects of opioids including the hyper-potent fentanyl.
Police say the man regained consciousness and began to respond. He was taken to hospital by paramedics for further treatment, OPP said Saturday.
Earlier this month, the province announced its plans to offer naloxone kits to all front line police officers and firefighters in the province free-of-charge – but the potential liability of equipping non-paramedics with the drug has divided some forces.
Police officials in Hamilton and Windsor aren’t rushing to distribute naloxone to officers over fears a failed attempt to administer it could land them in legal trouble – either in civil court of by Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit.
Front line officers in St. Thomas and Sarnia are already equipped with the drug and have been even before the province’s announcement.
London police have committed to getting naloxone to front line officers and are busy drafting policies for its use.
OPP officers already carry the antidote.
"When someone is overdosing, minutes can make the difference between life and death,” Norfolk OPP interim detachment commander Insp. Lisa Anderson said in a statement Saturday.
“The naloxone kits are an additional tool that OPP officers will be able to use to help keep our communities safe."