Wednesday, October 08, 2008

More insight about InSite

The other shoe has dropped. It isn't just the Harper government which opposes InSite, Vancouver's safe injection site. Now we find out it was the RCMP who commissioned this study on InSite, which was published in May, 2007 -- a study which I called at the time:
overblown, inaccurate, poorly researched, ideological tripe.
And here is why I said that, and criticized Canadian Press for its uncritical reporting about this study:
. . .the study's author Colin Mangham has been publishing reports for years against "harm reduction" drug policies -- which, briefly, are policies which tolerate drug use rather than try to prevent it. The safe injection site is a prime example of just such a policy in action -- and therefore, in this man's opinion, it must be stopped. What's the harm? Well, the problem seems to be that the harm reduction "ideology" makes us "vulnerable to the drug legalization movement". Can't have that, I guess.
Second, the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice is an on-line journal which has published [at that time] only two issues, with articles like "The Lure and the Loss of Harm Reduction in UK Drug Policy and Practice" and "Is it Harm Reduction Or Harm Continuation?"
Third, the Drug Prevention Network of Canada is a pretty small organization which takes a fairly conservative approach to social problems. On their website, they post articles with titles like "In defense of the drug war" and "Cannabis - A General Survey of it's (sic) harmful effects" .
Fourth, though Canadian Press acts like Mangham's article is a research study itself, it's not. It is actually a personal critique of ten research studies . . . [Their authors]Evan Wood, Mark Tyndall, Julio Montaner, and Thomas Kerr are all at UBC; Ruth Zhang, Jo-Anne Stoltz and Calvin Lai are at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal? These are the top medical journals in the world.
And all these established senior researchers and highly reputable journals are just so blinded by their ideological allegiance to harm reduction that they are publishing misleading, weak research?
And Colin Mangham has found them out? Oh, sure.
Note that RossK also discovered that this journal was funded by the US Department of Justice -- and Ross posted about all this again, when Mangham testified to a parliamentary committee in May.
And now we find out that the RCMP was requesting it:
. . . Mr. Mangham, reached Tuesday evening, said the RCMP commissioned his report . . .
“I was asked to research and provide an independent critique,” said, adding that health officials on the public payroll “certainly couldn't have said what I said.”
Yes, well, probably that's because Canadian civil servants don't usually go around criticizing the peer-reviewed articles published by the world's top medical journals.

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