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This article was published 15/2/2019 (302 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Two-thirds of Manitobans are in favour of establishing supervised injection sites to battle what they see as a growing opioid crisis in their communities, new research shows.
Polling data from the Angus Reid Institute show 64 per cent of Manitobans are in favour of supervised injection sites and 63 per cent feel the provincial government isn’t doing enough to address opioid addiction and fatal overdoses.
The results come from the polling of roughly 1,700 adults across the country from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6, which followed up on polling from late 2017, said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.
"We asked these questions a year ago and even if opioid use has sort of drifted in and out of the headlines, these numbers show it hasn’t drifted in and out of the lives of Canadians," Kurl said.
In response to opioid-related deaths in Canada, which are expected to surpass 4,000 when the final number for 2018 is tabulated, many people have come to favour what Kurl called "extreme measures" to address the issue.
The latest round of public polling found 85 per cent of Canadians support compulsory treatment for people battling opioid addiction, while 48 per cent said they think the federal government should explore the possibility of decriminalizing all drugs.
The poll was conducted by an online survey from February 1 to 6, 2019 among a representative randomized sample of 1,723 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes, the pollster said the sample size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. However, since Manitoba’s sample size was only 131 adults, the margin of error would be substantially higher.
"What’s notable about support for compulsory treatment is that it has a great deal of support across all political perspectives and all age groups. There was a high level of support last year, so that was less surprising," Kurl said.
"This year, we added the question about decriminalizing all drugs. That feels like a very extreme measure, but the response of 48 per cent is a very high number when we consider what a significant change that would be to Canadian legislative policy. That’s a significant number of people, not a majority, but not far off."
In Manitoba, 43 per cent of respondents said they would be open to the possibility of drug decriminalization.
The level of concern about the effect of opioids on one’s own community rose the most in Manitoba, among the provinces.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.
Updated on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 5:29 PM CST: Adds photo
7:07 PM: Updates headline
February 16, 2019 at 8:16 AM: Final
2:19 PM: Adds poll details.