Vic Fedeli admits pushing through a Private Member’s Bill from the Opposition is a challenge.
But for the Patch4Patch program that wasn’t the case.
“This was a non-partisan issue, it rose far above the politics of the day,” stated Fedeli.
“I will admit it is very unusual for a private members bill to pass. It is incredibly unusual for an opposition members private members bill to pass but we made a compelling case and especially bringing the parents in of people who overdosed and they gave their tragic stories. There wasn’t a dry eye in the legislature and I thank my 106 colleagues in the legislature before unanimously approving this and making this the law of the land in Ontario.”
At the North Bay Police Board meeting on Wednesday, Fedeli congratulated the front line officers in the Street Crime Unit who helped implement the program, along with Pat Cliche, who, from the medical side, spearheaded the anti-drug strategy in North Bay.
“It started here in North Bay as a solution to sadly, the tragic 15 deaths from Fentanyl and it took the awareness of our police service and the dedication fo Pat Cliche and her drug strategy committee to come up with a solution and the solution was to be able to trade your used patch for a new patch and that would keep the patches off the street,” said Fedeli after he honoured Cliche and the officers with a plaque.
After North Bay experienced at least 15 overdoses in six years, their Drug Strategy Committee led by Cliche, worked with local police, physicians, and pharmacists to come up with the Patch4Patch program.
The Patch4Patch program which was adopted by 48 communities even before it became law, requires legitimate users to hand back their used fentanyl patches to pharmacists before new patches are provided.
Cliche was humbled by the recognition, but she notes the pharmacies need some credit too.
“We have to give kudos to our pharmacies and our pharmacy outlets, they were great,” she said.