WINNIPEG — The president of the Winnipeg Police Association says fentanyl isn't just a risk to drug users, it's also a risk to first responders.
Maurice Sabourin says one Winnipeg police officer has already been accidentally exposed to the deadly drug "through absorption through the skin."
He says fentanyl is making their job more dangerous and complex, while putting time pressures on officers responding to calls.
Sabourin's comments came Tuesday after Mayor Brian Bowman announced details of the city's budget, which will include a budget for police services of $288 million — a 1.3 per cent increase from last year.
Fire and paramedic services will get a four per cent increase to $199 million.
Sabourin says he's concerned about the small increase for the police budget.
"Our calls for service are through the roof," he says. "Our duties and responsibilities become that much more complex and dangerous. The fentanyl epidemic that we’re seeing right now is an additional draw on our members."
Sabourin says the strain on the members comes with the time officers take when going on those calls and the additional precautions they have to take.
He says there will be related expenses, including money for protective equipment and supplies of Narcan, the temporary antidote for fentanyl and carfentanil overdoses.