Regina police say three people have died from drug overdoses since the beginning of the year as overdose numbers continue to soar.
Police have been made aware of 85 overdoses in Regina since January 1. Officers have responded 51 times and administered Narcan 18 times.
“That already puts us over last year’s entire 12 months, so we’re very concerned with these numbers,” Les Parker, media development officer with the Regina Police Service, said.
Police say any active user of illicit fentanyl or fentanyl analogs is in danger.
Police are also reminding the public about the “Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act” which protects people who report an overdose.
“It will protect you from a change in that instance, so that you can call. Police and EMS can intervene, and potentially save the person,” Parker said.
NDP leader Ryan Meili says the province should act on a safe injection site now more than ever.
“There’s already unsafe injection sites all over the place,” Meili said. “Having a safe injection site will reduce needles in the street, hopefully will see less criminal activity and absolutely will see a decrease in overdoses.”
The province says it has made a decision when it comes to safe injection sites, but won’t announce that decision until the budget is released.
Health minister Jim Reiter calls the overdose spike “troubling” and said more funding will likely have to be budgeted for mental health and addictions in the future.
He also said steps are taken when there are situations like the recent spike in Regina, which he said is the most severe circumstance he’s ever seen.
“Anytime there’s concerns like this raised, our officials typically make sure that the harm reduction things - specifically the naloxone kits – we make sure they’re available,” Reiter said.
Naloxone can be administered to someone who is overdosing, and has the potential to save a life.
Anyone who is at risk of overdosing, or anyone who may witness an overdose, is eligible for a free take-home naloxone kit and training. Kits are also available for purchase from select pharmacies across the province.