By Barbara Goodheart, ELS
Treatment, not jail time—that’s what most people who misuse opioids should be offered, say Virginia voters. More than 6 out of 10 Virginians recently polled favored treatment instead of arrest and criminal charges for heroin users, and more than 7 out of 10 also chose treatment for prescription drug abusers.
The 38% who identified themselves as Democrat or Independent supported treatment for opioid users more strongly than the 24% who called themselves Republicans.
Almost 90% of respondents—including 81% of Republicans and 92% of Democrats—expressed very strong support for community-based treatment programs for nonviolent offenders who were mentally ill, and said they should not be incarcerated.
These results are from the 2017 Public Policy Poll, a project of the Center for Public Policy, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, at Virginia Commonwealth University. The poll was conducted in partnership with the office of the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Participants in the poll were 1,000 Virginia residents who took part in telephone interviews in December. The margin of error was 4.1 percentage points. To access the Public Policy Poll results, go to http://www.wilder.vcu.edu/media/wilder/documents/2017_poll_Public_safety_FINAL.pdf.
Treat, don’t jail, drug users, poll says. By Jessica Samuels, Capital News Service. The Suffolk News-Herald. January 21, 2017. http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2017/01/21/treat-dont-jail-drug-users-poll-says/.
*See related article in this issue on stigma-sensitive terms.