OTTAWA – Opioid overdoses are on the rise in Ontario prisons, and correctional officers are doing what they can to protect themselves.
According to Ontario Public Service Employees Union Correctional Division Chair Monte Vieselmeyer most prisons are across Canada are dealing with a rise in opioids and opioid-related deaths, and the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre is no different.
He can’t say if any local officers have come into contact with fentanyl or other dangerous drugs on the job, but says the union is trying to stay ahead of the curve.
“We need to have the proper equipment for our officers and their medical staff to keep them safe, whether that be types of [masks] to protect them from breathing [the drugs in], or types of gloves to protect so that it doesn’t get into your skin,” describes Vieselmeyer.
The union chair will be meeting with his counterparts from other provinces next month, and says the opioid issue should be front and centre.
Six officers at a maximum-security facility in Edmonton were recently exposed to fentanyl, sending two to hospital, while a third required overdose-reversing medication.