The Timmins Police Service is hoping to de-mystify some of the misinterpretations of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.
It is apparent that there are significant issues attached to this legislation as it applies to rendering assistance to those in need when illicit substances are involved.
In the most basic terms, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection for people who are themselves experiencing some form of medical distress linked to a drug overdose situation or are a direct witness to such circumstance.
It should be clearly understood that, in no way, does the Timmins Police Service endorse or encourage the use of, or experimentation with, illicit substances.
In fact, the Timmins Police Service cannot be severe enough with its warnings against these behaviors, not only as an illegal act, but as a direct threat to a person’s wellbeing.
That said, the legislation was clearly enacted so that persons in these circumstances are protected from being charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act.
The act further provides protections against any collateral breaches of conditions regarding possession of a controlled substance in conflict with any pre-trial release, probation orders, conditional sentences or parole requirements.
The Act is structured so that persons who find themselves in need of emergency service from a first responder, including a police officer, during an overdose event, can rightfully seek out and receive said assistance without fear of being charged with an offence, even if they choose to leave the scene of the overdose prior to the arrival of a first responder.
Furthermore, the Act goes so far as to protect any other person who is at the scene when help in terms of first responder assistance arrives on scene.
With the above in mind it should be clearly noted that the Act is specific to the level of protection offered under the legislation in terms of the fact that is does not provide protection from persons involved in such circumstances but who may also be “wanted” on an outstanding warrant, involved in the production or trafficking in controlled substances or any other criminal act not specified within the act.
The Porcupine Health Unit (PHU), the Cochrane District Social Service Administrative Board (CDSSAB), the City of Timmins and the Timmins Police Service have a collective mandate in regards to public safety.
With that in mind, the general public must be made aware of the protections offered to any ordinary citizen in an overdose situation, and when involved in such a circumstance, to actively seek assistance and act in the best interest of the person in medical distress without fear of legal reprisals.
An information link is provided for further clarification.