Po­lice, Pub­lic Health of­fer fen­tanyl facts

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - LAURA BROADLEY

TIMES-JOUR­NAL

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.

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