Police, Public Health offer fentanyl facts
St. Thomas police and Elgin-St. Thomas Public Health are teaming to update St. Thomas on one of the deadliest drugs in recent history.
They’ll present Facts on Fentanyl at the St. Thomas Seniors’ Centre Nov. 23.
Const. Tanya Calvert said police want the public to know as much as possible about the opioid epidemic and its impact on the community.
Calvert said she knows that it’s difficult when the police sponsor an information session.
“We are coming with information from all angles,” she said. “The session isn’t just about the legalities surrounding drug use or the consequences of fentanyl use. It’s about how the police are controlling the illegal use of fentanyl.
“We’ve got someone speaking about opiate substitution therapy. So, methadone and suboxone and how they play an important role in rehabilitation,” Calvert said. “They’ve actually proven to reduce crime and assist people getting off opioids.”
Police know drug users who want to get clean likely won’t be at the session, Calvert said. “Can we support families of users? Or can we support front-line people who are working with users?”
The health unit will discuss harm-reduction strategies and other services it offers in the region.
“For many, many years, we’ve had a needle exchange program,” said Jaime Fletcher, the unit’s health protection programs manager. “We’re working with our community partners around early surveillance and identification of things like fentanyl and opioid overdose monitoring in our community.”
A program to distribute naloxone, lifesaving medication that can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose, has been running since January, Fletcher said.
“We’ll be talking a bit about who we’re servicing with naloxone and what the training looks like and how we’re planning to expand the region to our community with our naloxone program,” Fletcher said.
Dr. Joyce Lock, medical officer of health, also will touch on the health unit’s work with stakeholder partners.