British Columbia

Secret RCMP studies of Insite ideologically biased, advocates say

The RCMP secretly commissioned research in hopes of discrediting Vancouver's supervised injection site, according to the Pivot Legal Society.

The RCMP secretly commissioned research in hopes of discrediting Vancouver's supervised injection site, the Pivot Legal Society says.

The Downtown Eastside advocacy group is claiming the Mounties hired academics to challenge the Insite facility's track record.

Pivot Legal Society lawyer Doug King says it's not the RCMP's job to seek out research on Insite and Pivot has filed a complaint with the federal auditor general, asking for an investigation to determine if the RCMP used public funds to finance the research.

"It's an issue of public health. It's not an issue that falls within the RCMP's gambit," King told the CBC on Tuesday.

King said internal RCMP documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests show the Mounties commissioned at least two academics to dissect research into Insite in hopes of finding flaws.

The facility allows addicts to inject illegal drugs, which they bought on the street, inside under medical supervision. It is funded by the provincial government, and has the support of the city of Vancouver.

And while dozens of studies published in respected journals overwhelmingly showed benefits stemming from Insite, that information didn't appear in the RCMP reports, King said.

 King believes an ideological bias motivated the RCMP to play politics with the reports.

"It was really a way for them to attack the science behind Insite without them having the qualifications to do so, and to advance their ideological position."

"All of the pieces are more or less opinion pieces, and made the conclusions that research into Insite was flawed and this paper was more or less given to the federal government as a way as saying the research into Insite is inconclusive," said King.

The RCMP could not be reached for comment but in an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper, a spokesperson confirmed that they commissioned some research into Insite.

The Pivot Legal Society is a non-profit group that provides legal aid to people and groups on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.