Fentanyl overdose crisis
Mukhina Victoria - Shutterstock

Given the startling number of deaths related to fentanyl lately, opioid use and addiction is in the forefront more than ever for Canadians.

Based on data published by angusreid.org, one-in-eight Canadians have family or close friends who face addiction to opioids. That equates to roughly 3.5-million Canadians being faced with opioid dependency in the last five years.

Given the reach of a network of 3.5-million people, it’s no surprise that Canadians are quick to proclaim there is an opioid crisis currently affecting the nation.

In fact, 42 percent of Canadians consider it a “serious problem” around Canada, while 26 percent consider it a “crisis”. Combined, that’s 68% of Canadians – or roughly two thirds of the population – that at least recognize the situation as serious.

Graph by angusreid.org

These numbers decline slightly when asked if it’s an issue in your own province, and fall significantly when asked if it’s an issue within your own community.

British Columbians most concerned over opioid issue

What about for British Columbians? It’s well documented that 2017 was a record-breaking year regarding fentanyl-related deaths in B.C., with over 1200 overdoses confirmed and roughly 1000 (80%) being associated with fentanyl.

It turns out British Columbians are significantly more concerned about opioids than people in other provinces.

When asked if the opioid issue is a “crisis”, 49% of British Columbians agreed with the statement. It’s the only province to consider it more of a crisis at the provincial level than at the national level.

Graph by angusreid.org

Are federal and provincial governments doing enough?

After polling if federal and provincial governments were taking sufficient action to combat the increasing number of opioid-related deaths, it appears roughly half of Canadians do not think enough is being done at both the federal and provincial level.

For British Columbia (excluding those who responded “Not sure/Can’t say”), 44% of citizens believe “too few resources” have been put into the opioid issue.

37% believe the provincial government has “responded appropriately”, while 19% believe they have “put too many resources in”.

For Victorians in 2018, it will be crucial to observe whether the temporary and permanent safe injection sites are able to curb staggering overdose metrics.

Given that Victoria, Vancouver, and Surrey have been hit hardest by fentanyl, the data extracted from these injection sites could set a precedent for other provinces and communities around British Columbia.

Graph by angusreid.org

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