Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2006
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Benedikt Fischer


Re: RCMP takes a swipe at B.C. injection site, Dec. 11

It is with considerable astonishment that I read about the secret 
RCMP report on Insite, and the specific claims by Staff-Sgt. C.D. 
Doucette that there is "considerable evidence" that such a facility 
reduces the perceived risks and thus increases drug use. I propose 
that the RCMP puts this "considerable evidence" on the table for an 
open review. Despite the fact that I read and review evidence in this 
field from around the world on a daily basis as an essential part of 
my work as an addictions scholar, I must have missed rather important 
pieces of information because I have not come across such evidence.

It is not a great secret that many law enforcement agencies are 
staunchly opposed to addiction problems being transformed into health 
issues -- for example, by offering supervised injection sites in 
order to prevent death and disease -- rather than crime issues. 
Otherwise, it would move addiction out of the jurisdiction of law 
enforcement (likely with a corresponding loss of resources). In fact, 
this is a century-old challenge for the RCMP, which barely survived 
the threat of elimination in the 1920 and seized an emerging "drug 
problem" as its new raison d'etre. It has vigorously fought against 
any threats of losing this existential basis ever since.

However, if the RCMP would like to take a political or moral stance 
against public health interventions like Insite, it should do so 
openly, and not conceal such efforts in a veil of science. The RCMP 
should focus on enforcing the law, and leave the work of science to 
those trained in it.

Benedikt Fischer

Associate Professor, University of Victoria

Senior Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom