Windsor

Nursing leader says 'shame' on Windsor police, mayor for ignoring opioid problems

Nurses in Windsor-Essex are frustrated that emergency responders, including police officers, aren't carrying naloxone. 

'I hope [the police chief] has gotten the message' says RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun

Doris Grinspun, the CEO of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario is in Windsor this week to hear concerns from members and nursing students about healthcare in the region.  (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Nurses in Windsor-Essex are frustrated that emergency responders, including police officers, aren't carrying naloxone. 

Doris Grinspun, the CEO of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario is in Windsor this week to hear concerns from members and nursing students about healthcare in the region. 

According to Grinspun, one of the key issues this year is the opioid crisis in the region — which she said is the same conversation she was having last year on her visit.

"We hope Pam Mizuno will make a statement soon," said Grinspun, adding that she tried to pursue the naloxone conversation "without much success" last year with previous chief Al Frederick. "I hope [the police chief] has gotten the message."

"Nurses are ready to move forward ... saving lives is a priority for us," said Grinspun. "The first concern is that police are not supporting [their officers] to carry naloxone."

Grinspun said the RNAO is also pushing for supervised injection sites in every major city across Ontario. 

"Follow the evidence," said Grinspun. "Just last week you had two alerts, with people who almost lost their lives. These are people you know, your friends, your colleagues. We all need to look at the mirror."

Grinspun called on Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens and police chief Pam Mizuno to "put aside their prejudices."

"Using substances is like any other disease, like cancer," said Grinspun, adding she's asked for a meeting with Mizuno but hasn't met with her directly yet. 

Windsor police would not comment Tuesday on naloxone or supervised injection sites.

Grinspun said nurses are focused on evidence-based practice, which shows carrying naloxone is the right decision.

"I [have] only one word ... shame," said Grinspun. "Everyone is ready to move forward. We need now the mayor, the police chief, to take leadership."

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