British Columbians Displeased with Politicians on Opioid Crisis

One-in-five of the province’s residents (20%) personally know someone who died after using opioid drugs.

Vancouver, BC [June 2, 2023] – Many British Columbians remain concerned about 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 provincial sample, 61% of British Columbians describe the situation as a “major problem”, down three points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in October 2018.

More than half of British Columbians (56%, +14) think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian Federal Government have done a “bad” or “very bad” job coming up with solutions to deal with the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs.

Pluralities of British Columbians are also dissatisfied with how their Member of Parliament (48%, +17), Premier David Eby and the provincial government (45%), their mayors and councils (44%, +9), and their member of the Legislative Assembly (43%, +13) have handled this issue.

More than two thirds of British Columbians support three ideas to address the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in their community: creating more spaces for drug rehabilitation (81%, -9), launching more education and awareness campaigns about drug use (76%, -14) and reducing the prescription of opioids by medical professionals (69%, -9).

Most British Columbians are also in agreement on establishing safe supply programs where alternatives to opioids, can be prescribed by health professionals (63%) and setting up more harm reduction strategies, such as legal supervised injection sites (58%, -8). Fewer of the province’s residents are in favour of decriminalizing all drugs for personal use (40%, -5).

“More than half of British Columbians who voted for the BC Liberals in 2020 (55%) agree with safe supply programs,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The level of support is higher among those who cast ballots for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) (68%) or the BC Green Party (73%) in the last provincial election.”

More than a third of British Columbians (36%) say they know someone in their community who has used prescription or non-prescription opioid drugs in the last year—including a friend or member of their extended family (17%), someone they know from work, school, neighbourhood or place of worship (13%) or a  family or household member (12%).

One-in-five British Columbians (20%) personally know someone who died after using prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in their community—a proportion that rises to 27% in the Fraser Valley and to 25% in both Northern BC and Southern BC.

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from May 17 to May 19, 2023, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]

Photo Credit: Andrew Raun