This year, Halton Regional Police Service officers have already responded to 150 suspected overdoses involving either illicit substances, prescription drugs and/or over-the-counter medications. Of those, 18 people did not survive. If this trend in fatal and non-fatal drug poisonings continues, we anticipate responding to 445 overdoses by the end of the year, with the potential to lose more than 50 lives. We share these numbers recognizing that they represent family members, neighbours, loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

We want to take this opportunity to remind you that it is okay to call for help if you witness someone experiencing an overdose. We also understand that someone witnessing an overdose may be afraid to call for help for fear that they will be charged with drug possession. That simply is not the case. In the past two years, we have not laid a single simple possession charge in the course of responding to a suspected overdose.

On this day in 2017, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act became law. This Act applies to anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose, and provides some legal protection for the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave the scene before help arrives. The Act also protects anyone else at the scene when help arrives.

The Act can shield you from:

  • Charges for possession of a controlled substance
  • Breach of conditions regarding simple possession of controlled substances in pre-trial release, probation orders, conditional sentences, and/or parole

If someone appears to be overdosing, administer naloxone if you have it, and call 9-1-1. Stay with the person until help arrives. Emergency responders, including our frontline officers, are equipped with naloxone. Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose until the victim can get to hospital for treatment. Our priority is your safety, and we want to help. We’re here for you because we want you to be here too.

Upholding the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act is just one facet of the Halton Regional Police Service’s evidence-based harm reduction approach to the overdose crisis in our community. Please visit our website to learn more about how to prevent an overdose.

It is recommended that naloxone be used in all suspected drug poisonings, due to the possibility of opioid contamination or poisoning. Learn where you can get a free naloxone kit here.

*These data should be considered preliminary and are subject to change.

Media Inquiries:

Jennifer Hartman
Corporate Communications Manager
Phone: 905-825-4777 ext. 4904