Laurier students engage public with safe injection survey

Two Wilfrid Laurier students were at Kitchener City Hall on Wednesday asking people to fill out a survey to get their thoughts of safe injection sites.

The purpose of the survey is to gauge the public's perception and knowledge of safe injection sites

Ana Mrazovac and John O'Boyle are fourth-year health science students at Wilfrid Laurier University. As part of an assignment, they were asking people to fill out a survey to get a better understanding of people's perception of safe injection sites. (Carmen Ponciano/ CBC)

John O'Boyle and Ana Mrazovac, two fourth-year health and science students at Wilfrid Laurier, endured the cold Wednesday at Kitchener City Hall while asking people to fill out a survey on safe injection sites.

The survey is part of a school assignment but the students hope it can be used outside of the classroom.

"When we started doing our research, we saw that there was no real public opinion on safe injection sites in K-W and that was one of the barriers of implementing one," said O`Boyle.

This assignment is separate from the region's online survey that launched several weeks ago. O'Boyle said that they have been in touch with public health and hope to work with them in the future.

"We are planning on doing a collaboration with them hopefully in the next few months to compare results and see if we can further the study in 2018," he said.

Mixed reviews

When CBC spoke with O'Boyle and Mrazovac at least 50 people had filled out the survey. 

"If you guys are continuing with the needles, you're just encouraging them to kill themselves," one woman expressed to O'Boyle.

"Hopefully it will raise some awareness," one man told CBC news."As long as it continues to happen, we might as well have a safe place for them to go to."

O'Boyle and Mrazovac will be analyzing the results over the next couple of weeks. O'Boyle said they would like to work with the region to implement a safe injection site if their data shows that the general public is onboard with the idea.

However, if they find that the public is not, O'Boyle said they will look at if their opinion correlates with lack of knowledge or awareness and encourage a public health initiative to educate the public.