A new public opinion poll by Insights West has found that BC’s worsening opioid crisis has a far-reaching effect on families and communities.
The marketing and research company says many people and families say the crisis has hit very close to home.
Thirteen percent of British Columbians say that someone in their immediate family has struggled with addiction or died from an overdose. Twenty-eight percent of people are the friend or acquaintance of someone struggling with addiction or having died from an overdose. When combined, those numbers mean the opioid crisis in BC has had an effect on up to 31 percent of the population.
That is three times higher than the number of people who know someone who has COVID-19 or died from it.
The majority of people in BC are concerned about the negative impact on their community.
When asked about the negative impact of drug addiction in their local community, 81-percent believe the impact is either ‘extremely negative’ or ‘moderately negative’.
There is very strong support for further public awareness and education campaigns about the dangers of fentanyl.
A majority of people also support the idea of pursuing stronger penalties against people who import and traffic drugs.
However, there is also strong support for providing more spaces for drug rehabilitation and providing naloxone to community workers or residents without a prescription.
Similar levels of support are found for providing more funding for addiction counselors.
A slightly lower proportion of British Columbians believe we should provide free fentanyl testing sites to ensure opioids are safe for users.
Nearly half of British Columbians support stronger penalties for people who are caught using drugs.
For more on the survey visit Insights West website.