British Columbians Ponder Solutions to Opioid Crisis

Education and awareness campaigns—as well as adding more spaces for drug rehabilitation—are very popular ideas.

Vancouver, BC [November 7, 2018] – British Columbians are clearly worried about the current situation related to the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in their community, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, almost two thirds (64%) refer to the issue as “a major problem”, while 25% consider it “a minor problem.”

“Concerns about opioids are no longer confined to urban centres in British Columbia,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Majorities of residents in all regions of the province believe the problem is severe.”

When asked about specific solutions to the challenge at hand, 90% of British Columbians voice support for launching more education and awareness campaigns about drug use, and 88% would like to create more spaces for drug rehabilitation.

More than three-in-four British Columbians (78%) support reducing the prescription of opioids by medical professionals, and two thirds (66%) would set up more “harm reduction” strategies, such as legal supervised injection sites.

The idea of decriminalizing all drugs for personal use is more divisive, with 50% of residents opposing this course of action and 45% agreeing with it.

British Columbians aged 18-to-34 are more likely to endorse the decriminalization of all drugs for personal use (57%) than those aged 35-to-54 (43%) and those aged 55 and over (38%).

When it comes to the performance of political leaders, two-in-five British Columbians (41%) think BC Premier John Horgan and the provincial government are doing a “very good” or “good job” to come up with solutions to deal with the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs.

The rating is lower for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government (37%) as well as Mayors and Councils across the province (35%).

Earlier this year, the Government of British Columbia launched a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and retailers, in an effort to recover public-health costs associated with an increase in the use of opioids. Across the province, 72% of residents agree with the provincial government’s decision, while 17% disagree with it.


Results are based on an online study conducted from October 25 to October 28, 2018, among 801 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.