The Ontario government is now allowing police officers to carry and administer Naloxone without being subject to a criminal investigation.
The province has amended Ontario Regulation 267/10 of the Police Services Act that had previously required officers report to and be investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in an incident in which a civilian dies after Naloxone is administered.
Naxolone is a drug used to reverse the effects of opioids such as heroin, potentially saving the life of someone experiencing an overdose.
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Sylvia Jones says the amendment will “enable police officers to carry out their duties without fear of facing a criminal investigation, but more importantly, it will also help save countless lives”.
In a statement released Tuesday, the Ontario government says police officers will now be on par with other emergency first responders—such as paramedics or firefighters—who can carry and administer Naloxone but are not subject to the same level of oversight.
The province says the change is significant as police officers are often the first to arrive on the scene in a medical emergency and do what any first responder would do: try to save a life.
The move comes after a West Parry Sound OPP officer was cleared last month of any wrongdoing after administering Naxolone to a man who had collapsed on James Street in September.
The man was pronounced dead after being transported to hospital by EMS.