Opioids in Oakville: What Our Residents Should Know

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Opioids in Oakville: What Our Residents Should Know
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Inspector Kevin Maher

Inspector Kevin Maher

Kevin Maher is an inspector with the Regional Investigative Services, Halton Regional Police Service.

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Since the beginning of this year, the Halton Regional Police Service has seen an increase in the number of overdoses suspected to be caused by opioids 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.

Oakville 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 opioids crisis does not distinguish among age, socio-economic, gender, or cultural boundaries.

We recognize that the impact of opioids 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 Oakville through the Halton Region – Community Safety & Well-Being Plan.

“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,” said Chief Stephen Tanner.

“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,” continued Chief Tanner.

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.

“Last year, 40 people in Halton died from an opioid overdose. 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 naloxone 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]

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