Nearly two-thirds of Torontonians say that they are supportive of safe injection sites but more than half believe that their neighbours wouldn’t welcome a facility if it was located nearby, a new poll from Forum Research has found.
The poll of 1,110 randomly selected residents found that 64 per cent of respondents approve of safe injection sites compared to only 24 per cent who disapprove. The poll also found that 65 per cent of residents believe safe injection sites are either very effective or somewhat effective at saving lives compared to 23 per cent who said that they were not effective.
Despite the support, though, when it came to the question of locating a supervised injection site in their neighbourhoods most respondents felt that the facility wouldn’t be welcome.
About 53 per cent of respondents said that they believe their neighbours would disapprove of any supervised injection facility that was located within one kilometre of their home. About 19 per cent said they felt their neighbours would approve of a facility being set up nearby while 28 per cent said they weren’t sure.
It should be noted that in the former City of Toronto, where most supervised injection facilities are located, residents were more split. Only 39 per cent of respondents there said that their neighburs wouldn’t support a supervised injection facility nearby while 33 per cent said that they would.
“It’s true that the majority of Torontonians approve of safe injection sites in general, but it’s also true that a majority says a site wouldn’t be welcomed in their neighbourhood,” Forum Research President Lorne Bozinoff said in a press release. “It suggests that people are conflicted on the issue: they know that safe injection sites serve a purpose, but they feel as though their community would prefer if the sites were outside of their own neighbourhood.”
Most oppose cuts
Last month, the provincial government announced that it would fund six supervised injection sites in Toronto but not two others that had previously received funding.
At the time, Premier Doug Ford told a reporter that if he were to put a facility “beside your house, you’d be going ballistic.”
“I want to try to help these people. It’s ok. Ya help em,' but not in my backyard. That’s the reality of things,” he said at the time.
In addition to gauging respondents feelings in general about supervised injection facilities, the poll did also ask about the recent provincial cuts and found that 65 per cent of people disapprove of them.
The Forum Research poll is considered accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.