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Guest Post: Opioids in Halton – What Our Residents Should Know

LOGO_Halton Police

Please see below the media release issued by Halton Regional Police Service.

Since the beginning of this year, the Halton Regional Police Service has seen an increase in the number of suspected opioid overdoses in the communities we serve. Each of these overdoses comes with its own emotional and physical toll.

Across the country, an estimated 4,400 people died after apparent opioid overdoses in 2018. Each of these lives — the lives of mothers, sons, brothers, daughters, fathers, sisters, friends — makes the opioid crisis a significant public safety concern.

Halton Region is not immune to the impact of the opioid crisis that is devastating communities from coast-to-coast. While our Region has not experienced the same scope of overdoses and deaths as other parts of the country, Halton has been significantly impacted.

The opioid crisis does not distinguish among age, socio-economic, gender, or cultural boundaries.

We recognize that the impact of opioid use will be a long-term challenge for the community. This is why the Halton Regional Police Service is working collaboratively with stakeholders to develop and deliver comprehensive strategies and interventions to address the issues related to the illicit use, misuse or abuse of opioids in our community. This includes work across various sectors to build resiliency in all four municipalities through the Halton Region – Community Safety & Well-Being Plan.

If you use drugs, or have a friend or family member who uses drugs, these tips may help save a life in the event of an overdose:

  • Never use alone. If an overdose occurs, having another person nearby can save your life;
  • Remember that any drug can be cut with, or contaminated by, other agents or drugs (e.g. fentanyl), which in very small amounts can be harmful or fatal. Know your tolerance and always use a small amount of a drug first to check the strength;
  • Carry naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available free-of-charge in Halton at:
  • Don’t run. Call 9-1-1. An overdose is a medical emergency. Know the signs of an overdose and call 9-1-1 right away. Our frontline officers, and other first-responders in Halton, carry naloxone and we want to assist. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides broad legal protections for anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. This means citizens, including youth, will not be charged for offences, such as simple possession, for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

“The Halton Regional Police Service recognizes that addressing the devastating impacts of the opioid crisis requires a holistic, long-term, collaborative approach. We are leveraging all internal resources and taking all measures to actively investigate and prosecute those responsible for trafficking in illicit narcotics. In parallel, we continue to work with strategic partners to further our understanding of the upstream factors that contribute to this issue. Our community demands and deserves the best from us, and their well-being and safety is our priority.” — Halton Police Chief Stephen Tanner

“Last year, 40 people in Halton died from an opioid overdoes. Each of these deaths matters greatly, and is preventable. We want to talk about opioid overdoses — to reduce the stigma against people who use drugs, and to ensure that people who use drugs get the support they need. We are already working to ensure that people who use drugs, their families and friends, can access free naloxone through our clinic and outreach programs, and to equip first-responders in Halton to carry naxolone, which saves lives. This is a complex issue that requires a community-wide response. We are committed to working together with our partners on a local response.” — Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health

MY TAKE:

I want to thank Halton Police for putting this release together and sharing the information with the public. Only through education and awareness can we eliminate deaths and severe injuries that can result from opioid overdoses.

 

Resources For Those With Addictions

We encourage all parents to have open and frank conversations with their children about the very significant risks and dangers associated with the use of any illicit drug, and in particular opioids. There are many online resources available, including the website drugfreekidscanada.org.

There are agencies and supports in place within our community to assist individuals suffering from addictions, and their families, including:

ADAPT – Halton Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Assessment Prevention & Treatment Services

ADAPT is a non-profit, community-based, outpatient addiction, assessment and treatment agency funded by the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and the United Way to provide a range of services throughout the Halton Region. ADAPT is dedicated to empowering persons with alcohol, drug and/or gambling concerns, and their families, to manage these concerns and to lead fulfilling lives through the provision of comprehensive assessment and treatment services, corresponding to need. ADAPT’s services and programs are available for adults and youth and include:

  • Assessment, Treatment and Referral Services (Adult)
  • Days Ahead Program – Assessment, Treatment and Referral Services (Youth)
  • Community Justice Programs
  • Know the D.E.A.L. Program (Youth)

For more information about ADAPT services or to book an appointment, call the Intake Desk at 905-639-6537, ext. 0. If this is long distance, call 905-693-4250, ext. 0. Collect calls are also accepted. Hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) – Halton Region Branch

CMHA provides support for mental health and addictions through education programs, free walk-in counselling programs, crisis intervention through the Crisis Outreach and Support team (COAST program), support and peer-support programs.

For more information on CMHA services call 905-693-4270 or toll-free 1-877-693-4270.

If someone is experiencing a mental health crisis:

  • Call COAST at 1-877-825-9011 (TTY: 1-844-646-1700)
  • Go to the nearest hospital, or
  • Call 9-1-1

Connex Ontario

Provides free and confidential health service information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness and/or gambling. Information and referral services are live-answer 24/7, confidential, and free: 1-866-531-2600.

Halton RAAM (Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine) Clinic

The Halton RAAM Clinic provides evidence-based addiction medicine treatments for a variety of substance-use disorders, including alcohol, opioids, tobacco, and benzodiazepine tapering.

The clinic accepts referrals from any source, including self-referral, and patients can also arrive on a walk-in basis. Call 1-888-388-7226 for an appointment.

Halton Region Exchange Works program

Exchange Works is a program of Halton Region’s Harm Reduction Services. As part of this program, outreach workers and public health nurses operate a mobile outreach service in Halton Region that involves:

  • Exchanging used injection/smoking supplies for new injection/smoking supplies;
  • Providing health information to clients;
  • Distributing safer sex supplies;
  • Referring clients to community agencies that have the tools to help access rehabs.

Services offered:

  • Safer injection supplies;
  • Safer steroid supplies;
  • Safer inhalation supplies;
  • Safer sex supplies;
  • Nasal naloxone training and kits;
  • Education;
  • Written information and referrals;
  • STI and HIV testing, along with Hep A + B vaccines;
  • Presentations (by request).

You can access Exchange Works by:

  • Texting or calling mobile outreach services (on a confidential cell phone)
    • Mobile Outreach Services905-330-3305 (North Halton: 905-702-4200)
      Monday-Thursday 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Visiting one of the Halton Region clinics.
    • Needle exchange services available at Burlington and Oakville clinicsMonday-Friday 1-4 p.m

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2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Opioids in Halton – What Our Residents Should Know”

  1. Great release. Fentanyl though does not respond as effective like other opioids to Naxolone. It is just not the deaths we need to be worried about, we also need to educate about the number of overdose survivors that have brain damage. Especially, if Fentanyl has been involved.

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