Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has seen an increase in the number of suspected opioid overdoses in the region. Each of these overdoses comes with its own emotional and physical toll.
An estimated 4,400 people died after apparent opioid overdoses in 2018 across Canada. Each of these lives makes the opioid crisis a significant public safety concern.
Halton has been significantly impacted. “Each of these deaths matters greatly, and is preventable,” Halton Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hamidah Meghani said. There were 40 deaths due to opioid overdoses throughout 2018 in Halton.
HRPS is working collaboratively with stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategies and interventions to address the issues related to the illicit use, misuse or abuse of opioids in the region, including the Halton Region – Community Safety & Well-Being Plan.
HRPS suggests following tips if you use drugs, or have a friend or family member who uses drugs. They may 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:
- Halton Region clinics (in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville) and Halton Region Needle Exchange Program (Exchange Works)
- Some local pharmacies. To find a pharmacy that distributes naloxone, visit the Ontario government’s Where to get a free naloxone kit web page.
- 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.
Meghani wants to reduce the stigma associated with overdoses. “ 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 naloxone which saves lives. This is a complex issue that requires a community wide response,” Meghani said.
HRPS Chief Stephen Tanner emphasized the Service’s willingness to work with the community on this issue. “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,” Tanner said.
Halton Regional Police Service would like to encourage parents to have conversations about drug use with their children. Their suggested resource is Drugfreekidscanada
There are several agencies in Halton to seek help for addiction issues
Halton Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Assessment Prevention & Treatment Services (ADAPT)
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. They provide a range of services throughout the Halton Region dedicated to empowering those with alcohol, drug and/or gambling concerns, and their families, to manage these concerns. Services include: Assessment, Treatment and Referral Services for adult, and a know the D.E.A.L. Program for Youth. For more information about ADAPT services or to book an appointment visit their website
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. Or visit their website
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
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.
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.
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 include:
- Safer injection supplies, steroid supplies, inhalation supplies, and sex supplies.
- Nasal naloxone training and kits
- STI and HIV testing, along with Hep A + B vaccines
You can access Exchange Works by:
- Texting or calling mobile outreach services (on a confidential cell phone)Mobile Outreach Services: 905-330-3305 (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