Friday, May 30, 2008

Spin Doctors Without Borders....again

As noted by Dana at the Beav, a mere three days after the G&M reported:
Safe-injection site in B.C. wins court protection
"North America's only sanctioned safe-injection site for drug addicts won a major court victory Tuesday, thwarting any chance of the federal Conservative government closing it down"
Tony Clement announced at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health that he will be asking Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to appeal the BC Supreme Court's decision "as soon as possible".

Kady O'Malley live-blogged the committee hearings in her own inimitable way today, noting that :
"It occured to me as I was scurrying back from the foyer that this is the *second* meeting this week where the only witness on hand to defend the government’s policy on a controversial issue is an import from the United States—and not just the U.S., but the United States of Right-Wing Think Tanks."

Ah yes - Colin Mangham.
Colin Mangham is "director of research" for the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, an offshoot of , wait for it , the Drug Prevention Network of America, headed up by Calvina L. Fay of Drug Free America, Save Our Society From Drugs, and Drug Watch International, dedicated to "combating the drug legalization movement globally". DPN of Canada lists her as an "honorary board member" who has "served as an advisor to President Bush on drug policy".
Rounding out the board of our very own 'war on drugs' Canadian clonetank is past president ReformaTory Randy White and REAL Woman Gwen Landolt as current VP, plus a couple of Scientology's Narconon graduates.

Back to Kady : "Dr. Colin Mangham, who huffs and puffs over the "bad science" and sloppy journalism behind support for the program...[snip]...At one point, he mentions in an offhand way that he’s a graduate of UBC, but his accent is glaringly American. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.
He then goes into a rant about how people who support InSite, including some in this very room, are, in fact, part of a larger movement towards drug policy reform. He demands that "elected representatives" stop these "activists." By this point, there are hisses and catcalls coming from the visitors’ gallery."

"Bloc’s Christiane Gagnon : does he have any data to support his contention that the vast quantity of research that supports harm reduction policies is worthless?
Well, no, not exactly. He provided a “second opinion” on research produced by other people, to “critique” it, just like a first year university student would do."

Our score so far : 22 positive peer-reviewed studies in favor of InSite published in prestigious scientific journals versus one "second opinion" from a promoter of the wildly successful and universally admired US 'war on drugs'.

So why am I still worried?

Update : Wow! Four posts on this at the Gazetteer from Ross, who is incidentally a scientist, a peer-reviewed scientist.

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