During question period Thursday, Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife called on the Liberal government to provide emergency funding to the Waterloo Region Police Services for naloxone kits.
“Between January and August of this year, 42 people have died of opioid overdoses,” said Fife. “It is clear that there is an increasing strain on public emergency services to respond to opioid-related incidents in Waterloo Region and, indeed, across Ontario.”
To address the increasing number of opioid fatalities in the Region, Bryan Larkin, Chief of Waterloo Region Police Services and President of the Ontario Association of Police Chiefs, ordered $43,000 worth of naloxone doses. This summer, naloxone was administered by police six times, saving four lives. The other two doses were administered to officers who were exposed to fentanyl.
“The well-being of officers is compromised when they come into contact with narcotics and require medical attention,” said Fife. “Simply put, this is a matter of workplace health and safety for front-line workers. It is a public health crisis. It is time for this province to catch up to this crisis.”
“Can the government commit today to providing emergency funding for naloxone for front-line services, which is what they deserve?” asked Fife.
Neither the Minister of Health & Long-term Care or Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services committed to funding naloxone kits for front-line workers in their response to MPP Fife’s question.