Blue Line

Peterborough Police pilot teams to redirect opioid users to additional resources

September 9, 2020  By Staff

More than $1.9 million in funding from the Canadian government over the next three years has been slated for the Peterborough Police Service. Through this funding, people who use drugs and experience mental health issues will be connected to newly-created community-based outreach and support services, the feds announced at the end of August.

“This is an excellent example applying the principals of community-based policing to support multi-sector collaboration,” said Peter Williams, the community development and engagement co-ordinator with the Peterborough Police Service. “We would like to thank Health Canada for funding this important pilot project, creating a community-based response team, which includes a paramedic, complex case managers for addictions, and peer outreach workers. A continuum of responses, tools, services and programs is vital to address the complex issues surrounding the overdose crisis. This pilot project is a critical addition to the County and City of Peterborough’s efforts.”

As part of this project, the Peterborough Police Service is working with local partners to create a community-based outreach team to increase the capacity for frontline community services to help people at risk who are referred by police. With the help of this new team, people who use drugs or experience mental health issues will be redirected from the criminal justice system to harm reduction, peer support, health and social services.

Additionally, this initiative will increase access to “culturally appropriate” services for Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ2+ populations, youth, women, and those living with HIV through partnerships with other organizations such as Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre and Peterborough AIDS Research Network.

“Problematic substance use is a health and social issue first and foremost,” added Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Health. “I am pleased to support an initiative that brings together first responders, peer support workers, community partners and health and social services, to give people who use drugs access to the services they need, rather than directing them to the criminal justice system.”

This funding is provided through the Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). The SUAP is a federal grants and contributions program that provides financial support to provinces, territories, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous organizations, key stakeholders and individuals to strengthen responses to drug and substance use issues in Canada.

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