RCMP officers across the country will now carry the life-saving drug naloxone at all times.

The drug reverses opioid overdoses and their effects, like drowsiness, slowed breathing, and loss of consciousness. Carrying it will also keep the force safe from run-ins with opioids and opioid users.

In a joint statement, co-chairs of the Joint Task Force on Overdose Response, Dr. Perry Kendall and Clayton Pecknold, said they “strongly commend the RCMP” on this decision.

“For both their member’s safety, as part of their personal protective equipment, but also for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdoses among the members of the public. Adding naloxone to the list of tools at their disposal means they are able to keep themselves and those they serve and protect safe.”

Kendall and Pecknold say that 80% of BC street drugs contain fentanyl.

Between January and July this year, 31 Northern British Columbians died from overdoses, 75% of which were due to fentanyl.