Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. Opioid overdoses are claiming the lives of thousands of people across Ontario and are steadily increasing. The statistics and numbers related to overdoses do not capture the profound distress being felt by those impacted. Observers may hesitate to call 911 in fear of police involvement. To encourage people to seek life-saving assistance the East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is launching the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA) public awareness campaign. The campaign runs August 31st – October 31st, 2021.
The OPP is upholding its commitment to the Ontario Mobilization and Engagement Model of Community Policing and is using a collaborative approach to disseminate this public awareness campaign. Partnering with other community organizations will help the OPP better connect with people that are directly impacted by this Act.
The OPP has created posters, information cards and community safety videos to help educate the public and community agencies. These resources as well as other additional information about the GSDOA can be found by visiting: www.opp.ca/overdose and OPP social media accounts.
The law does provide protection against charges for:
· Possessing drugs for your own use
· Violating conditions of your parole, bail, probation or conditional sentence for a simple drug possession charge
The law does not provide protection against charges for:
· Trafficking illegal drugs
· Offences other than drug possession
· Any outstanding arrest warrants
· Violating conditions of your parole, bail, probation or conditional sentence for an offence that is not simple possession
“By calling 911 in the event of an overdose, you could literally be saving a life. The OPP understands the value of the protections afforded in the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act and has embedded it into its policies for responding to overdose-related calls for service. Take the time to learn about and understand this important piece of legislation, and tell others about it as well. Also, please remember that if you need support in treating addiction, there is help available to you. Please reach out to one of our many community counselling agencies for assistance – if you don’t know where to start, they can help you access treatment.” – Inspector Tyler Sturgeon, Commander, East Algoma Detachment.
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