Pubdate: Sat, 03 Sep 2016
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Page: 3
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: David Reevely


An unscientific survey by Ottawa's public-health unit over the summer 
found two-thirds of us support new supervised drug-injection 
facilities aimed at helping addicts survive overdoses.

The survey, an online questionnaire, was a consultation meant to 
gauge the public's attitude toward such sites, which Ottawa Public 
Health thinks would work best added to existing community health 
centres and other agencies that operate needle exchanges and 
methadone clinics. Anybody could go to the health unit's website and 
fill the survey out - so it's more like an Internet version of a 
public meeting than a poll.

According to the health unit, more than one-quarter of the 
participants identified themselves as either health practitioners or 
people who work at agencies that help drug users. They also gave out 
paper copies to people at existing drug clinics; five per cent of 
respondents said they're current or former users of harm-reduction 
services. The result is what the health unit calls a "a convenience 
sample," people who were easy to reach.

Nevertheless, 66 per cent of the 2,263 people who took part said they 
believe supervised injection sites would be beneficial in Ottawa, 
against 27 per cent who oppose the idea. The most support came from 
the wards where injection sites would be likeliest to open - 
Somerset, Rideau-Vanier, Capital, River and Kitchissippi, where 
support ranged from 77 to 90 per cent.

The survey even found more support than opposition (based on just a 
few dozen participants) in suburban and rural wards like West 
Carleton-March, Kanata South and Cumberland. Only in Barrhaven and 
Gloucester South Nepean were outright majorities of respondents opposed.

More than half of respondents have concerns, though, mostly focused 
on the idea that safe injection sites will attract more drug users 
and dealers, which will be bad for safety and for property values.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom