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May 2, 2008

Canadian Government Thwarts AIDS Prevention?

An article published in the International Journal of Drug Policy claims the Canadian government interfered with research at a Vancouver safe-injection site and committed a “serious breach of international scientific standards” after a 2006 independent scientific review of the facility, The Globe and Mail reports (theglobeandmail.com, 5/2).

According to The Globe and Mail, the journal article accuses the government of misrepresenting the facility’s research findings because it is “ideologically opposed to harm-reduction programs.”

The facility—called Insite—was approved for funding by the federal government in 2003 to allow intravenous drug users access to emergency medical care, which could reduce their risk of contracting HIV. Since then, 22 peer-reviewed papers have cited the facility’s positive influence on that community.

However, federal Health Minister Tony Clement attempted to halt research, which would have led to increased funding for the facility and the launch of similar programs in other cities. A spokesperson for Clement denies these charges.

Research scientist and lead author of the study Evan Wood told The Globe and Mail that the government’s misrepresentation of research findings was political, and not in the interest of public health policy.

Search: Vancouver, needle exchange, Tony Clement


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