Canadians Are Supportive of Insite and Oppose Moves to Shut it Down

by Angus Reid | July 29, 2010 4:00 am

British Columbians are more likely to endorse the facility’s operations and the concept of “harm reduction” than respondents in other provinces.

Vancouver’s legal supervised injection site remains a touchy issue for one-in-four Canadians, but respondents in British Columbia clearly support its operations and disagree with the federal government’s attempts to shut it down, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,000 Canadian adults, 43 per cent of respondents support the operations of the Insite facility, while 24 per cent are opposed.

In addition, two-in-five Canadians (40%) disagree with the federal government’s decision to appeal to the Supreme Court in an effort to shut down Insite, while one-in-four (27%) agree.

Albertans are more likely to both oppose Insite (36%) and side with Ottawa on its decision to appeal (41%).

Conversely, a majority of British Columbians support the legal supervised injection site’s operations (68%) and disagree with the course of action pursued by the federal government (58%).

Despite the level of support for Insite, some misconceptions about the facility prevail. One-in-four Canadians (26%) mistakenly assume that Insite actually provides drugs to people who use the facility, including 30 per cent of British Columbians.

Views on “Harm Reduction”

Canadians are evenly divided in their assessment of “harm reduction”, a term that has been used to describe policies that both acknowledge that some people will engage in risky behaviours—such as drug use or prostitution—and try to mitigate potential dangers. Critics of this concept claim that “harm reduction” condones risky behaviours and sends the message that they are acceptable.

Overall, 37 per cent of respondents believe in “harm reduction” while 37 per cent do not. British Columbians (47%), Atlantic Canadians (45%) and Ontarians (40%) are more likely to endorse the concept, while Quebecers (45%) and Albertans (40%) are more likely to decry it.

Still, three-in-four Canadians (76%) think policy makers should place more emphasis on education and prevention when tackling drug addiction in Canada. Only 14 per cent believe “harm reduction” should take precedence.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)[1]

Methodology: From July 23 to July 24, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,000 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

  1. Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF):

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