According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

A majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs – this comes as opioid overdoses in British Columbia reached their deadliest peak to date.

According to a new Angus Reid study of 5,003 people, 59 per cent favour decriminalization. The number was higher (64 per cent) amongst those who know someone personally affected.

The COVID-19 pandemic came with the province’s highest fatal overdoses from opioids in 2020 – a total of 1,716 were confirmed by the BC Coroner Service.

A total of 11 per cent of B.C. residents said they know someone who has died from an overdose, which is more than double compared to the five per cent from other provinces.

READ MORE: Opioid crisis to blame for shorter life expectancy in B.C. men, says Stats Can

Canadians in general want something to be done about the rising overdose death toll.

According to the study, two-thirds support increasing access to supervised injection sites, where people who use drugs can do so while being monitored by health professionals.

Conversely, 45 per cent of Canadians say it would be better to crack down on users and increase arrests and charges for possession of illicit substances.

In Quebec and Nova Scotia, only half of those surveyed think the opioid epidemic is a serious societal issue to begin with.

RELATED: With 1,716 deaths, 2020 deadliest year of overdose crisis in B.C. history

Regardless of their stance, Canadians have admittedly spent less time thinking about the “opioid crisis,” which was first declared in 2016 by B.C. health officials.

Back then it was front of mind for 42 per cent of Canadians, who said they discussed the deepening issue with their friends and family.

However, with COVID pandemic taking hold across the country, that number has dropped to just 16 per cent of people now saying they involve it in daily conversation.



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

opioid crisisopioid deathsopioid epidemic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cargo container was knocked off a truck trying to pass under the Glover Road overpass in 2018. Crews will be working on the overpass Monday, April 12 in the evening and one eastbound lane will be temporarily closed. (Langley Advance Times files)
Highway slowdown expected Monday night in Langley for overpass work

The Glover Road overpass is getting some work done

COVID-19 virus (file photo).
Langley schools exposure list grows with latest COVID cases

As of Monday there were 14 schools on Fraser Health’s list

People have been leaving Post-It note messages for staff at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Langley Events Centre. (Fraser Health Tweet)
LETTER: Langley resident lauds LEC vaccination clinic staff

Local couple impressed with everyone they encountered at the clinic set up in the local hockey arena

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Langley resident urges patience for all awaiting vaccination

Letter writer also encourages people to show their gratitude to hardworking front-line health staff

Well Seasoned gourmet food store owner Angie Quaale bought and distributed $500 worth of gift cards to a local restaurant last week, after Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the “circuit breaker” shut down of indoor seating at the end of last month. She’s hoping it will spark more people to help local restaurant and pub operators. She’s doing another giveaway starting Monday night. (Jeff Vinnick/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Gift card purchases aim to boost sales for struggling Langley restaurants

A Langley business owner tries to support fellow food entrepeneurs hit hard by pandemic restrictions

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read