Police Chiefs and Community Partners Team up to Prevent Fentanyl-related Deaths

Ontario’s top police leaders are teaming up with community partners and families whose loved ones have died from Fentanyl-related deaths to make available an Ontario-specific, web-based source of information on the dangers associated with the use and abuse of this extremely potent painkiller.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) unveiled a new website, www.facethefentanyl.ca, at a news conference at Toronto’s Humber College. The website concept and public education posters, developed by Humber College’s AdCentre, are now available to Ontario police services, public health units, and other community groups who want to stop Fentanyl-related deaths in Ontario.

“Between 2010 and 2014, Fentanyl was a factor in 577 deaths in Ontario. Police services across Ontario cannot stand by while our sons and daughters, our friends, and the people we serve die from the use and abuse of this drug.” said OACP President Chief Jeff McGuire.

In 2014 alone (the last year for full annual numbers), there were 152 Fentanyl-related deaths in the Province of Ontario.

Fentanyl can be obtained legally in Ontario through prescriptions and is usually prescribed for the treatment of acute pain.  It is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 times more than heroin. The new website features information and resources for users and anyone who is concerned about a loved one’s use and/or abuse of Fentanyl. The website and other resources are also available to public health units and other health care and social services professionals.

“The death of my daughter Tina in 2012 because of Fentanyl has devastated and changed my family,” said Tina’s mom Sherrie Dolks. “I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the pain that my daughter’s death caused for her family and friends.”

Dolks is an advocate for families of Fentanyl victims and has a Facebook page, Gone Too Soon – The Dangers of Fentanyl, dedicated to raising public awareness and support for people impacted by a Fentanyl-related death.

In November 2015, the OACP released a resource document for establishing Patch 4 Patch Fentanyl Abuse Prevention programs. Subsequently, the Ontario legislature passed the Safeguarding Our Communities Act (Fentanyl Patch for Patch Return Policy), which established a provincial policy whereby individuals who are prescribed Fentanyl in transdermal patches must return all of their patches before being given new ones.