Equip TTC Employees With Naloxone

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Toronto is in the midst of an overdose epidemic, which is devastating communities across the country. 308 Torontonians died from an opioid overdose in 2017 - a 63% increase from 2016 - and data shows that the crisis is not slowing down.

In the context of drug criminalization in Canada, a lack of affordable housing and shelter, and gaps in mental health and harm reduction services - people are often left using poisoned drug supplies in public spaces. Often, one of the few public spaces where people can find shelter and warmth is in subways, streetcars, buses, and bus shelters.

The TTC is the most heavily used transit system in Canada, with nearly 1.7 million passengers using it each day. TTC employees are often first on the scene to respond to emergencies and are not currently trained or permitted to use naloxone when responding to an overdose.

Overdoses are life-threatening, and the longer an overdose goes untreated, the higher the risk of permanent damage and death. Naloxone reverses opioid overdoses by helping a person breath normally and regain consciousness, and is harmless if administered to someone who is not experiencing an opioid overdose.

With overcrowded subways and overburdened EMS services, wait-times for medical assistance on the TTC can be dangerously long. Many TTC workers are trained in CPR and have access to first aid equipment, but they are not equipped to respond to opioid overdoses.

We the undersigned urge the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Toronto to ensure that frontline TCC employees are trained in overdose recognition and response and equipped with lifesaving naloxone.

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