OACP President Chief Paul Pedersen has spoken out in favour of laying charges against persons who cause an opioid overdose as a means to deterrent.
Speaking to TVO on the laying of a manslaughter charge by the Greater Sudbury Police Service in May, in relation to the accidental fentanyl overdose of a 26-year-old man, Chief Pedersen said, “The tactic that police are employing is trying to hold offenders accountable to the full weight of the law and as appropriate. When people start hearing that what they are doing is killing people and we're holding them accountable to it, for sure we hope that there are people that will sit up and take notice.”
Opioid overdoses claimed 1,471 lives in Ontario in 2018 (up from 1,265 in 2017). In May, the OPP charged a dealer with manslaughter — a homicide committed without the intention to cause death — in Latchford, a town in northeastern Ontario. North Bay police used the same tactic in November 2018. According to the OPP, the force has laid such charges 16 times since 2017, most of them in northern and western regions.
In a related development, OACP Zone 1A Director Chief Scott Tod (North Bay PS) is calling for a national task force to deal with the opioid crisis. Chief Tod issued the call at the recent OACP Annual Meeting held in Toronto.