OPP: Law provides protection for those reporting overdoses

ORILLIA – Police are launching a public awareness campaign to remind  people they should always call 911 to report an overdose.

“Even if you’ve taken drugs or have some on you, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA) can protect you,” states an OPP press release.

Opioid overdoses, which are on the rise, are claiming the lives of thousands of people across Ontario. Yet, police say, “the statistics and numbers related to overdoses do not capture the profound distress being felt by those impacted.”

Observers may hesitate to call 911 in fear of police involvement, so police are encouraging people to seek life-saving assistance and informing them about the GSDOA.

“At the centre of the OPP’s response to the opioid crisis is the spirit of the [GSDOA], which is intended to save lives,” stated OPP Superintendent Bryan MacKillop.

“The OPP is determined to take every step possible to help our citizens, our communities and our partners who are impacted by the opioid crisis.”                                            

The OPP has created posters, information cards and community safety videos to help educate the public and community agencies about the GSDOA.

The resources and other information can be found at www.opp.ca/overdose and on OPP social media accounts.

Police say the GSDOA provides protection against charges for possessing drugs for personal use and for violating parole, bail, probation or conditional sentence conditions for a simple drug possession charge.

It does not provide protection against charges for trafficking illegal drugs; offences other than drug possession; outstanding arrest warrants; and violating parole bail, probation or conditional sentence conditions for offences other than simple drug possession.