Const. Kim Rathbone

Amherstburg Police Service hosting open forum on opioids



By Ron Giofu


The Amherstburg Police Service is hosting an open forum this Thursday to help spread awareness and advice regarding opioids.

The free community forum, entitled “Not My Kid”, runs Nov. 9 at the Libro Centre from 6-8 p.m. Const. Kim Rathbone said their vision is to have information available in the foyer of the Libro Centre featuring youth diversion, New Beginnings, the Teen Health Centre, the Canadian Mental Health Association among others.

“These places are typically in Windsor but they are going to be at your fingertips,” said Rathbone.

Once the program starts, Rathbone said they will have a real life story from someone who battled addiction and received treatment. The Windsor police drugs and guns unit will also be on hand to make a presentation.

“They are going to talk to parents about typical signs to look for in your child and what to look for in your child’s room,” she said.

Rathbone added that local Shoppers Drug Mart owner Josie Piruzza is scheduled to speak on keeping prescription drugs safe and proper disposal of drugs. There will be school nurses from around Windsor-Essex County on hand, Rathbone continued, with Sharmaine Tanario-Battagello from Withdrawal Management also scheduled to speak.

Tanario-Battagello has 27 years of program development and clinical experience and holds a master’s degree in organizational psychology and clinical social work. She has worked in the fields of mental health and addictions throughout her career and has been part of the medical systems in both Canada and the United States.

Crime Stoppers Windsor-Essex County is also scheduled to attend with free naloxone training also being provided. Naloxone is used on someone who has overdosed and buys time for the person to be treated by medical professionals.

Rathbone pointed out that there have already been open forums on opioids in Kingsville and LaSalle and organizers have learned from those events on what information people are seeking. Amherstburg police hope to prevent opioid addiction and limit it from becoming a major issue locally.

“The whole point of this is to get ahead of it,” said Rathbone. “It’s not a giant issue in Amherstburg. There’s no epidemic here.”

Another open forum is scheduled to be in Windsor in early 2018, she added.

The “Not My Kid” community forum will run from 6-8 p.m. The Libro Centre is located at 3295 Meloche Road in Amherstburg.

For more information, contact Rathbone at 519-736-8559.

Police services teaming up to educate public on dangers of fentanyl



By Ron Giofu


Area police services have joined forces with the local school boards to help warn against the dangers of fentanyl.

The Amherstburg Police Service is one of the area police departments involved, though Sgt. Matt Capel-Cure credited the Windsor Police Service for spearheading the initiative.

“We support what they are doing,” said Capel-Cure.

Capel-Cure said it is an information program with a pamphlet being developed that people can access online or by request at the police station or through local schools.

“It’s mainly an information pamphlet,” said Capel-Cure.

Sgt. Matt Capel-Cure of the Amherstburg Police Service is third from the right in this recent photo. Local police services and school boards have banded together to warn against the dangers of fentanyl. (Special to the RTT)

Sgt. Matt Capel-Cure of the Amherstburg Police Service is third from the right in this recent photo. Local police services and school boards have banded together to warn against the dangers of fentanyl. (Special to the RTT)

“All four school boards agreed to it and are on board with it,” added Const. Kim Rathbone. Rathbone is Amherstburg police’s mental health officer and also assists with addiction issues.

Capel-Cure said the pamphlet gives out warning signs and symptoms in case some is taking fentanyl, with those including severe sleepiness, slow heartbeat, trouble breathing, slow, shallow breathing or snoring, cold and clammy skin and trouble walking or talking.

Fentanyl may be in pill, powder or liquid form and can be cut into other drugs like cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and oxycodone. Capel-Cure said miniscule amounts of fentanyl can prove fatal.

“It is such a small amount that can kill you,” he said.

“With this, it’s truly a race against time to get help,” added Rathbone.

Rathbone said it has been stressed there is no fentanyl or opioid problems within the local school boards.

“They want to get ahead of the game,” she said.

“There have not been any issues at all in any of the school boards yet but it has been deemed to be a crisis in Canada in general,” added Capel-Cure.

Fentanyl has been linked to two deaths in Amherstburg in recent years, Capel-Cure stating, with the deaths taking place roughly one year apart.

“We’ve seen it,” said Rathbone.

In 2015, there were 529 opioid related deaths in Ontario with 162 related to fentanyl.