FORT FRANCES – The Rainy River District Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating two recent suspected overdose deaths in the community. In light of these incidents, the OPP would like to remind residents of the Fort Frances area that using illicit drugs from unregulated sources can be extremely dangerous.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing an overdose, it is crucial to call 9-1-1 immediately. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA) provides legal protection against simple drug possession charges for those seeking emergency help during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose.
This Act protects individuals who seek help, regardless of whether they stay or leave the overdose scene before help arrives, as well as anyone else present at the scene.
Signs and symptoms of an overdose can include difficulty walking, talking, and staying awake, blue lips or nails, very small pupils, cold and clammy skin, dizziness and confusion, extreme drowsiness, choking or gurgling sounds, slow, weak, or no breathing, and the inability to wake up, even when shaken or shouted at.
Police caution citizens not to handle any unknown substance, as some substances can be harmful to handle and require proper procedures and protective equipment. If anyone in the community comes across something they suspect to be illegal drugs, they should immediately notify the police so that the substance can be handled and disposed of safely.
It is also essential to ensure the safe disposal of any expired or unused medication. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their pharmacy to safely dispose of prescription medication. Medications can also be returned to hospitals, medical clinics, or during local prescription drug drop-off/take-back programs.
Although the two deaths are not believed to be related, the Fort Frances OPP is continuing to investigate. The OPP is committed to working with community partners to address the opioid crisis strategically and collaboratively at the local and provincial levels, supporting safe and healthy communities for all Ontarians.