Ontario Officers to Receive Fentanyl Training
Ontario police officers are combatting the fentanyl epidemic, which has become a “deadly threat to public health and safety”. Police will be joining Ontario’s Chief Coroner for a 2-day training symposium. This will be held in Toronto and over 450 officers will be attending.
This symposium will be led by Dr. Dirk Huyer and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. The main focus will be combatting a spike in fentanyl-related deaths, which often occur as a result of the illegal obtaining, sale, abuse, and misuse of the drug.
Dr. Dirk Huyer commented, “While not as extreme as in other areas of Canada, particularly British Columbia, Ontario is seeing an increase in fentanyl deaths… It is my hope that through the collaborative efforts of our governments, public health, law enforcement, and front-line healthcare workers, we will soon begin to see a reversal in this alarming trend.”
In addition to officers, border security agents are going to be trained on the “health and public safety challenges” that fentanyl presents. Ron Taverner, Toronto Police Superintendent, says that this training is “critical to ensuring our people’s safety.”
Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner continues, “Our officers need to understand the dangers of fentanyl not only to themselves but the people they serve. We want them to be in a position where their personal safety is guarded when it comes to fentanyl and they can also help save lives.”
The emerging of “bootleg fentanyl” was highlighted in August 2016 by crime and drug prevention organizations in Ontario. This bootleg fentanyl is typically acquired one of two ways:
- Legal prescriptions that are diverted illegally.
- Smuggling from other countries such as China.
Ontario Government Involvement
Michael Parkinson is a drug strategy specialist with the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council (WRCPC). He believes that the Ontario government should be taking the reigns on the fentanyl issue; that is should not be left up to advocacy groups alone.
“There are really health issues here that cross sectors and all that but where’s Public Health Ontario? Where’s the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care? What we haven’t seen is an urgent, proportional, and collaborative response. There’s no sense of urgency on the bootleg fentanyls issue from the Ontario government. We have not seen a proportional response.”
Lindsey Locke, Columnist for SOS Safety Magazine