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Public opinion towards supervised injection facilities and heroin-assisted treatment in Ontario, Can

Public opinion towards supervised injection facilities and heroin-assisted treatment in Ontario, Can

  1. Jatelka
    International Journal of Drug Policy 18 (2007) 54–61

    Michelle Firestone Cruz, Jayadeep Patra, Benedikt Fischer, Jurgen Rehma and Kate Kalousek

    Abstract

    In recent years, controversial interventions such as ‘heroin-assisted treatment’ (HAT) and ‘supervised injection facilities’ (SIFs) have been
    established in attempts to minimise the high morbidity and mortality consequences of illicit drug use. This paper examines public opinion
    towards HAT and SIF using data from the 2003 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Monitor, a representative population
    survey conducted among adults residing in Ontario, Canada. Data relating specifically to SIFs and HAT were isolated from the main database
    (n = 885); agreement scores were collapsed to create a scale and analysed using independent sample t-tests and ANOVAs. Results revealed
    that 60 percent (n = 530) of the sample agreed that SIFs should be made available to injection drug users, while 40 percent (n = 355) disagreed.
    When asked about the provision of HAT, a similar pattern emerged. Variables significantly associated with positive opinions toward SIFs and
    HAT were: income; higher education; the use of cocaine or cannabis within the last 12 months; being in favour of cannabis decriminalisation;
    support of needle exchange in prison; view of illicit drug users as ill people; and agreement that drug users are in need of public support.
    Given the current political climate and the tentative position of SIFs and HAT in Canada, understanding the public’s opinion is crucial for the
    feasibility and long-term sustainability of these interventions.