Skip to main content

A new federal law is aiming to reduce the number of people who die from overdoses in Canada.

Jane Philpott, Minister of Heath, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, announced that the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act received royal assent and became law on May 4.

As a professional interventionist in Canada, Andy Bhatti believes this law is the right next step for Canada. Andy says that it allows people to realize that there is help out there. That Canadian government officials and professionals are showing that they want to help and not hurt those in need.

What does the act do?

The Act will provide some legal protection for those who experience or witness an overdose and call 911. The act will protect you if you are in breach of the following conditions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:

  • Parole
  • Pre-trial release
  • Probation orders
  • Simple possession
  • Conditional sentences

The hope is that someone who is experiencing or witnessing an overdose will now call 911 for help, instead of not calling because they’re fearful of arrest. For those who call 911, they will have guaranteed immunity from charges.

What does this new law mean for Canadians?

The growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids has become a national public health crisis. This new Act is part of the government’s approach to addressing the crisis.

The increasing number of deaths related to opioids in Calgary specifically is a concern for Andy Bhatti. So far in Alberta this year, 113 people have lost their lives from apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl.

This new Act will help lessen the worry that parents of addicts feel, Andy adds. Parents now have hope that their loved ones will get the help they need if an overdose occurs.

What to do if you see an overdose

In 2016, 343 people died from fentanyl overdoses in Alberta. In British Columbia, there were 931 reported fatal overdoses from illegal drugs. Since 2010, the BC Centre for Disease Control says accidental illicit drug overdose deaths have continued to increase regionally, provincially and nationally.

Fentanyl drug overdose deaths

Overdoses often happen with others around. If an overdose happens near you, stay at the scene. Witnesses should:

  • Call for emergency help
  • Be prepared by carrying naloxone to use if you suspect an opioid overdose
  • Provide first aid, including CPR, if necessary, until emergency help arrives
  • Stay calm and reassure the person that help is on the way

This new Canadian law will work alongside the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, which was introduced in December 2016. While this is great news for Canada, Andy says the best way to help addicted individuals is to set up an intervention with a specialist like himself. Setting up an intervention will allow for a loved one to become free from the pain addiction causes.

If you’re looking for drug and alcohol intervention services in British Columbia, Alberta or in Eastern Canada, Andy Bhatti Intervention and Addiction Services can help guide you through the process.

Contact us to get help for your loved ones now.