Windsor police only service in Ontario not carrying naloxone, says MPP
'It's a huge hurdle for communities across the province, but specifically for ours'
The Windsor Police Service (WPS) is the only police department in the province not equipping officers with a drug that can potentially reverse opioid overdoses, according to Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky.
Chief Al Frederick said that his front-line officers would not carry naloxone during a press conference on Tuesday, following changes to the provincial Police Act that eliminates probes by a police watch dog when the drug is used.
Over at 24-hour period in the past weekend, four people died of a suspected overdose in Windsor.
"Windsor is the only municipality, the only police service, that is not carrying them," said Gretzky, citing a conversation she had with the Police Association of Ontario.
"It's a huge hurdle for communities across the province, but specifically for ours," Gretzky said.
The Windsor Police Association, which asked for the WPS to equip officers with naloxone in February, said it is the only major police force not using it to their knowledge.
Gretzky said sometimes police officers get to a scene before EMS, so they may be the only one between someone living or dying.
"It's really important that we ensure that all of our front-line responders have every tool at their disposal to be able to save the lives of people in our community and potentially their own colleagues," Gretzky said.
The Homeless Coalition of Windsor Essex also wants Windsor police to carry naloxone.
"If as a first responder a life can be saved, then it is our belief that every effort should be made to do so," said Ron Dunn, chair of the homeless coalition.
However, Chief Al Fredrick said these types of emergency procedures should be left up to the paramedics.
"They're the best ones to be dispatched and respond to a health crisis, not a police officer," he said.