Pubdate: Thu, 21 Sep 2017
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2017 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Kathy Donovan
Page: A6


The recent arrest of a man after a call for assistance for a drug
overdose (Overdose leads to drug charges, Sept. 6) causes me great

As in heart attacks, in such cases survival is dependent on a quick
response. Yet unlike other health emergencies, people hesitate to call
at an overdose situation. They may fear arrest, loss of child custody,
and judgment by others, among other things.

The response in this case either a punitive attitude or ignorance on
the part of the police. It may not only lead to more overdose deaths,
but it will also serve as a deterrent to seeking other services which
may identify people as drug users.

Harm-reduction policies must encompass a wide array of responses that
include not only non-punitive and fast responses to drug overdose, the
provision of clean needles, drug/opiate treatment and assessable,
non-judgmental services for all seeking assistance, but also
co-operation from a wide range of sectors including the police and
medical services that assure that drug users will not be investigated,
surveilled or apprehended when seeking services.

News that someone has been arrested after a phone call for help will
spread like wildfire in the community and the effect will likely be
felt immediately. We can only hope that more education will take place
among law enforcement.

Kathy Donovan, Regina
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