Ontario to offer naloxone to police, firefighters as opioid-related deaths rise

Ontario will be offering the overdose-reversing medication naloxone to police and firefighter services across the province as it continues to grapple with an opioid crisis.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Community Safety Minister Marie-France Lalonde made the announcement today as new figures show deaths due to opioids continue to rise.

Chief Coroner Dirk Huyer says there were 336 opioid-related deaths in the province from May to July _ an increase of 68 per cent from the same time period last year.

Naloxone will be offered to all 61 police services across the province and all 447 municipal fire departments.

Hoskins also says that the federal government today gave Ontario the ability to approve and fund temporary overdose prevention sites.

Hoskins says establishing overdose prevention sites with a federal exemption would also protect front-line workers at such sites from criminal prosecution.