Today WBUR reported the first findings from our latest poll for them, on opiate addiction and legalizing marijuana. (Results on casinos and the governor’s raced will be released separately later this week.) We found likely voters in the November elections have very different opinions about these two different drugs.
More than half of voters (52 percent) think opiate addiction — abuse of heroin or prescription painkillers — is a major problem in the Commonwealth; another 31 percent go so far as to call it a “crisis”. The problem is being felt personally, with 37 percent reporting they know someone who struggled with addiction in the past year. That number jumps to 57 percent among younger voters, those between the ages of 18 and 29. Given the demographics of the electorate compared to the population as a whole, it’s likely that these figures are even understating the problem.
Voters have a much different opinion about another drug. Nearly half (49 percent) support legalizing marijuana, compared to 42 percent opposed. That figure is very close to what we found in our last WBUR poll and recent national polling tracking a shift towards legalization.