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COVID-19 a greater concern in B.C., but more people directly impacted by opioid crisis: poll

Last Updated Sep 11, 2020 at 6:11 am PDT

FILE - A naloxone kit is shown in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday November 13, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic is seen to be slightly more concerning to British Columbians than the opioid crisis, survey finds

Despite more concern about the pandemic, more British Columbians have been impacted by the overdose crisis

Since January, more than 900 people have died from drug overdoses in B.C.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There is more talk about the pandemic, but it turns out more people in B.C. have been directly impacted by the overdose crisis than COVID-19.

From family, to friends, to neighbours, more than a third of British Columbians say they know someone who has struggled with addiction or died from an overdose.

That’s triple the proportion who know someone who has COVID-19 or who has died from it, according to new research from Insights West.

The opioid crisis has had a direct impact on 13 per cent of British Columbia residents when defined as someone in their immediate family having either struggled with an addition or having died from an overdose.

The pollster has found a total of 31 per cent of people in B.C. have either had someone in their immediate family or circle of friends struggle with addiction or die from an overdose.

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“Only 1% of BC know someone who has died from COVID-19, compared to 9% from a drug overdose. These numbers are equally high throughout all the regions of the province age groups and income levels.”

When it comes to just how negative the impact the opioid crisis is having on their communities, the majority — 81 per cent — of British Columbians say the impact is either extremely or moderately negative.

Meanwhile, more than eight-in-ten people say the impact on their community from the opioid crisis is negative.

Related video: B.C. overdose deaths in July near record high

 

“A highly telling comparison is that there is a larger number (37%) who feel that the impact of the opioid crisis is extremely negative relative to the impact of COVID-19 (25%), yet on a total level, COVID-19 is seen to be slightly more concerning,” according to Insights West.

Nearly half of British Columbians are supportive of pursuing stronger penalties against people who are caught using drugs, importing drugs and selling them.

Since January, more than 900 people have died from drug overdoses in B.C.