October 23, 2017, Queen's Park – Today in Question Period, PC Health Critic Jeff
Yurek grilled the Wynne government for its failure to include police services in
their recent opioid crisis announcement.
"Police officers are often first to find those who have overdosed, and run the risk
of inadvertently ingesting the illicit drugs during their duty placing their lives
at risk," said Yurek. "That's why we find it troubling the Wynne government has
chosen not to assist police services in purchasing the life-saving drug naloxone
for its front line officers," Yurek continued.
Last month a Guelph Police officer was exposed to the deadly opioid fentanyl at
the scene of a collision. Fortunately, paramedics were on scene and were able to
treat the officer before rushing him to hospital. The growing risk of accidental
exposure and lack of provincial support has left many police services struggling
to find money to equip their officers with this life-saving treatment. This has
created a two-tiered system in the province where some officers have access to naloxone,
and others do not.
"The Wynne government has been too slow to act on this crisis which has placed a
heavy burden on police budgets across the province," said Yurek. "Police organizations
have been left to shift money in their budget to pay for naloxone, which often comes
at the cost of other police services that keep our public safe," stated Yurek.
"We need leadership and support for our police officers throughout the province.
The Wynne government needs to commit to putting naloxone in the heads of all front
line police officers before it's too late," Yurek concluded.