As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the dangers posed by fentanyl, the Manitoba government will provide nearly $30,000 to purchase naloxone kits for police officers in Winnipeg and other municipal and First Nation police services across the province, Justice Minister Heather Stefanson and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“As fentanyl becomes more commonplace in Winnipeg and throughout the province, we need to help ensure the appropriate resources are in place to protect officers and the public,” said Stefanson. “This is an important investment which will increase the number of naloxone kits in the hands of people who are often first on the scene and need to be ready to respond in any kind of emergency.”
“Fentanyl and other opioids are incredibly dangerous and potentially fatal even in small amounts, so many people might be at risk without even realizing it,” said Goertzen. “This measure will support the other important work underway in Manitoba to deal with fentanyl.”
The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) will receive 1,300 naloxone kits, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids and prevent potentially fatal overdoses. Another 200 kits will be distributed to municipal and First Nations police services including the Brandon Police Service and Dakota Ojibway Police Service. Officers will be trained to use the naloxone kits if they encounter someone on a call who may be experiencing an opioid overdose or if another officer has been exposed while at work.
“With the purchase of naloxone kits for Winnipeg police members, we will ensure that, in the event of an accidental exposure to fentanyl or other potent opioid, a safe reversal medicine is immediately available,” said Chief Danny Smyth, WPS. “In addition, police members who come in contact with members of the public who have overdosed on fentanyl or other potent opioids will also immediately receive naloxone, which has the potential to save lives or limit the complications associated with hypoxia.”
“Officers face risks every day, but exposure to fentanyl brings this to a new level,” said Ian Grant, president of the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police. “This will greatly enhance the safety of our officers, who may be exposed during the course of their duties, but it is also another tool we can use to try and save the lives of people who have been exposed, either intentionally or unintentionally.”
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid narcotic, linked to an increasing number of overdoses and deaths over the last several years. Funding for this initiative has been provided from the Federal Proceeds of Crime Fund.
This fall, the Manitoba government launched a new social media campaign to highlight the dangers associated with fentanyl. For more information on the campaign, follow the Twitter account at www.twitter.com/MBGov. For more information about fentanyl, visit www.manitoba.ca/fentanyl.