The RCMP will be trained to administer naloxone, the antidote for opioid overdoses, with new dollars announced by the B.C. government to prevent illicit drug overdoses and deaths.
The province announced $10 million will go toward B.C. addiction treatment research and training centre and strategies identified under the Joint Task Force on Overdose Prevention.
Half of the money will go toward the new B.C. Centre on Substance Use, focusing on addiction research, health provider education and clinical care guidance, while the rest will go toward additional priorities areas, such as issuing naloxone and naloxone training to police and RCMP. The naloxone would be for the public and also for officer safety in the case of accidental exposure, a press release says.
“The prevalence of fentanyl and other harmful opioids has increased the exposure of police officers to these substances,” said Mike Morris, solicitor general and public safety minister. “In addition to enforcing the law and pursuing drug dealers and traffickers, it’s critical that they are trained to assist individuals who are in danger and also have the ability to protect themselves.
“This additional support from the task force will enable the expansion of outreach strategies, drug testing and overall enforcement targeted at dealers.”
The timeline for Nanaimo RCMP training on naloxone is not known, but detachment spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien said it is a priority. The Nanaimo detachment previously volunteered to be a test site where police could carry naloxone to administer on people who overdose or for their own protection in case of exposure.