Wednesday, October 17, 2007

130 scientists urge Ottawa to base Insite decision on science, not ideology

130 scientists urge Ottawa to base Insite decision on science, not ideology
228 words
21 August 2007
The Canadian Press
(c) 2007 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

TORONTO (CP) _ A group of 130 prominent doctors, scientists and public health professionals is calling on the federal government to use scientific evidence, not political ideology, when deciding whether to extend the life of Vancouver's safe injection site.

The group has endorsed a strongly worded commentary on the issue published by Open Medicine, an online medical journal.

In the commentary, Dr. Stephen Hwang says that if government refuses to accept the scientific evidence backing the Insite program it should be transparent about the basis for its objections.
Hwang says the health of the nation is placed in peril if leaders ignore crucial research findings simply because they run counter to a policy agenda driven by ideology or fixed beliefs.

Hwang, a researcher in the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital, says the federal government seems to be judging the safe injection site program by an entirely different standard than it would other health measures.

An exemption that allows the safe injection site to operate expires at the end of this year.
Signatories to the commentary include Dr. Robert Brunham, head of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control; Dr. Richard Lessard, Montreal's director of public health; and leading HIV-AIDS researcher Dr. Mark Wainberg

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