Monday, June 24, 2013

What Happens When Ideology Trumps Science?


Well, according to Thomas Kerr, as quoted by Dene Moore of the Canadian Press, you get this:

..."We have a federal government that ignores science in favour of ideology, and people are sick and dying as a result," Kerr said.
"When we're dealing with matters such as life and death, I think we're obligated to base our decisions on the best available scientific evidence. I think it's unethical to do otherwise."...


Why would Dr. Kerr say something like this?

Well, because the group that he is a part of, the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, has just published a report that strongly suggests that the harm reduction approach to drug abuse has, at least in part, contributed to the following in Vancouver since it began in earnest in 2003:

...There were fewer people sharing needles in 2011, and there were fewer new infections of HIV and Hepatitis C related to sharing needles, the study found.

In 1996, almost 40 per cent of drug users reported sharing needles, but by 2011, that had dropped to 1.7 per cent. About 25 per cent of Vancouver's drug users are HIV positive, and about 90 per cent suffer from Hepatitis C.

The overall health of drug users had improved and more people were accessing addictions treatment, jumping from 12 per cent on methadone treatment in 1996 to 54.5 per cent since 2008, statistics showed...

Can somebody remind me, again, how that 'War on Drugs', not to mention the work of the 'Harm Reduction Haters' Club' going again?



Anonymous said...

The "War on Drugs" has cost us way more money than almost any other war.
When it has been proven by in the field followups that Harm Reduction and repealing prohibition is considerably more cost effective and provides desired outcomes, why do we tolerate this inane political mindset?
One might be puzzled by my opinion due to the fact that I am 70 years old and have never used/abused any sort of drug - OTC/street/prescription.
But science SHOULD be recognized to outweigh ideology ALWAYS.

paisley said...

Gee I wonder who all these control freaks are that think they have the right to dictate to other people what they should or should not do with their own body. I'm willing to bet 9 times out of 10 it's the same group that makes up the faithful they have the same MO.

persey said...

Well, RossK, this article at least got me to do some thinking and it generated a plethora of random thoughts.....

1. I'm not sure I get your point- are you saying Harm Reduction is a good thing or a bad thing? And, my apologies, but I read it three times and still don't "get" your ideology vs. science argument.

2. If I read the numbers right, 90% of drug users suffer from Hepatitis C. This is something to brag about?

3. With over half of drug users on methadone (soma) we are truly on our way to a Brave New World.

4. With a significant part of health budgets spent treating the results of drug abuse, I wonder about the value of spending a larger part of the budget on prevention.

5. Since the recent spate of disasters in the polling arena, I am much more skeptical of ANY numbers based on "random" sampling.

RossK said...

Thanks Anon--

Excellent points



Sorry to be a little opaque...I've written a lot about this in the past...Dr. Kerr is talking about the FedGov's continued efforts to squelch the spread of Harm Reduction based on ideology not evidence.

Of course, one of the strategies to counter this argument is to, essentially, conjure the 'counter' evidence and then 'publish' it in 'scientific' journals of questionable impartiality...I wrote about this, extensively, here.