The Canadian government's treatment of scientific process and evidence: inside the evaluation of North America's first supervised injecting facility

Int J Drug Policy. 2008 Jun;19(3):220-5. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2007.11.001.


Although the recommendations of scientific review bodies have traditionally been free of political interference in Canada, there have recently been growing concerns raised about Canada's new federal government's treatment of scientific processes and evidence. This concern is relevant to the scientific evaluation of Canada's first medically supervised safer injecting facility (SIF), which opened in Vancouver in 2003, where illicit injection drug users can inject pre-obtained illicit drugs under the supervision of nurses. This commentary describes what may be a serious breach of international scientific standards relating to the Canadian government's handling of the SIF's scientific evaluation, and the circumstances which eventually led to a moratorium on SIF trials in other Canadian cities. Although the primary focus of this discussion should remain on the health of the people using the SIF, it is hoped that the publication of the information contained in this report will lead to greater public scrutiny of the Canadian government's handling of addiction research and drug policy, and provide lessons for researchers, drug policy-makers, and affected communities in other settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • Federal Government*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects
  • Politics
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Public Opinion
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers / methods*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous*


  • Illicit Drugs