Police explain their role in fighting the local overdose crisis

By Jessie Weisner
March 12, 2019 - 4:30pm Updated: March 12, 2019 - 6:57pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB -- A conversation about Medicine Hat’s response to opioid overdoses has begun, with the Medicine Hat Police Service being the latest to joining the discussion.

HIV Community Link has partnered with several organizations to host the series called ‘The Overdose Crisis: Our Community’s Response.’
The three part series explains how local agencies are responding to the overdose crisis.

The events Facebook page says the recent announcement of a supervised consumption site within Medicine Hat has sparked some misinformation. The events hope to dispel some myths, and provide education about the current overdose crisis.

The Police Service presented during the second session Monday Night, the theme was ‘Prevention and Enforcement’.

“So we were talking about the overdose crisis and the communities response and the police being a small piece of that puzzle,” says Cst. Travis Funk with the Medicine Hat Police Service. “We talked a little bit about the enforcement and some of the drug seizures we’ve had over the past three years.”

Cst. Funk also spoke about a partnership between the police and the Canadian Mental Health called the Addiction Crisis Team (ACT).

ACT was formed in June of 2018, because a need for addiction support was noticed within the service.

“(It’s) Myself, and two addiction crisis workers. So the three of us, we work together to try to provide support to those who are struggling with substance abuse,” says Cst. Funk.“It was noticed that there was a gap within the police service that we’re constantly dealing with people who had substance use issues and we were able to identify who those people were and this way we can provide the supports needed for those people right here in the police station.”

Cst. Funk says it’s important for the police to be involved in the fight against opioid overdoses, because they frequently see people struggling with substance abuse issues.

“We’re out there enforcing the laws and we’re out there going to the overdose calls, the assist EMS call, we’re out there with Naloxone, we are first responders. So a lot of times we’re first on scene so for us to be part of that solution after the fact I think is really important.”
The third part of the series focuses on Treatment and Harm Reduction, and will be held on March 18 at the Medicine Hat Public Library.

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