Officers in Muskoka are looking to enforce and educate this holiday season.
During the run of the annual Festive RIDE program in the district, police will be handing out a special card to each driver stopped at the various checkpoints. Central Region OPP Sergeant Peter Leon says they’re focusing on opioid awareness.
Leon says each officer in Muskoka is equipped with a Naloxone kit as well. Naloxone is used by health professionals and emergency workers to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. He says this will make sure officers are prepared if they come across someone suffering from an overdose. The kits will also help protect officers that could be dosed during an investigation.
This new opioid education campaign is being run in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Earlier this year, the health unit started meeting with local emergency service representatives to come up with a strategy to battle the increase in opioid overdose-related deaths in the area. The Festive RIDE partnership is one part of that strategy.
As for the RIDE checks, Leon says officers will be on the lookout for both alcohol and drug-impaired drivers this year. He says each RIDE stop will have an officer that is trained in spotting a driver that is on drugs.
Whether you’re caught impaired by drugs or alcohol while driving, you’ll face the same penalties including hefty fines, driving suspensions and even jail time.
RIDE check stops will be set up throughout Muskoka on various highways and municipal roads during the day and night throughout December. Police are urging drivers to keep safety in mind when you’re going to a Christmas or New Year’s Party this month. Be prepared to take a cab or have designated driver ready to get you home. The Festive RIDE program runs until January 2nd.
Here’s a look at each of the pamphlets being handed out, courtesy of the OPP:
Health unit reporting a spike in opioid overdoses in Simcoe-Muskoka
Health Unit gets funding to fight opioid overdoses
Health officials come together to address rising numbers in opioid overdoses in Simcoe Muskoka
‘Not In My Town’ forum looks to provide more education on opioid addiction in Muskoka
The OPP in Muskoka is keeping watch for impaired drivers this holiday season