The province will fund naloxone for police departments to equip officers, Premier John Horgan said in a Sept. 23 appearance.
His statement came as several police departments in B.C. – from local departments in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria to Nelson – confirmed to Black Press Media that they are paying for naloxone kits after provincial funding ended in April 2020.
“It’s unfortunate that an alarm had to go off,” Horgan admitted, but noted the rapid turnaround and funding commitment.
Horgan said the province will continue to ensure officers have the life-saving tool.
His is a similar stance to the trio of Greater Victoria departments who told Black Press Media there was never a thought to not provide the resource and related training for officers.
A statement from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General confirmed a decision was made in April 2020 as police forces across the province had an excess supply of naloxone kits available to them.
“As these current supplies have been decreasing or expiring, we are committed to ensuring there are no gaps and to identifying long-term funding so that police agencies are able to continue to have their officers carry these life-saving kits,” the statement read.
The ministry provided naloxone kits and associated training to police departments in B.C. as part of the province’s response to the opioid pandemic, declared in April 2016.
During the four-year funding period, the ministry spent $2.691 million and provided 26,712 kits to the RCMP, independent municipal departments, Stl’alt’imx Tribal police and Transit Police.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Sept. 24 with further information provided by the province in response to Black Press Media questions.
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