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Opioid Advisory Working Group set up in detachment area

Posted January 11, 2018

A Nottawasaga Opioid Advisory Working Group has been formed comprised of local professional agencies and groups who are regularly involved or come in contact with members of the community that are a regular user of opioids (including Heroin, Fentanyl, Oxycodone) or individuals who have knowledge of the extent that opioids are causing harm in the community.

Nottawasaga OPP reported this morning the working group, which will meet quarterly, includes OPP, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, South Simcoe Police Service, Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres, local pharmacists, mental health and addictions treatment workers, and local shelters.

Its mandate:
Sustain/develop relationships amongst community stakeholders;
Identify priorities through collaborative discussions;
Discuss ongoing and future harm reduction, prevention and treatment strategies;
Leverage training;
Promote a coordinated approach to addressing local opioid concerns across our communities.

"The creation of the Nottawasaga Opioid Advisory Working Group is a valuable opportunity to effectively manage cooperation and communication amongst agencies and groups to achieve goals and priorities focusing on opioid drugs with our local communities," said Nottawasaga OPP Detachment Commander, Inspector Steve Clegg.

Barbara Foster, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, cautioned that fentanyl can be added to any drug and cause an overdose.

"Overdoses can be prevented by not mixing drugs, not using alone, starting with a small amount, and by recognizing the symptoms of an overdose," she said. "Also, have Naloxone available, a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose related to opioids. An overdose is a medical emergency and anyone that suspects an overdose should immediately call 911, even if Naloxone has been given."

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection for individuals who seek emergency help during an overdose.

Naloxone kits are free and available at many pharmacies with a Health Card or from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri