Anything but people

I went to a meeting today of the B.C.Mental Health and Addictions Research Network.The meeting started off with the narrator stating how important the data was to the researchers and how important it was that they receive the proper credit and credentials for their research.They then stated the research did not cover harm reduction,prevention or outreach.Of course not,no-one pays for that kind of information.It would seem that there's all kinds of money to study the havoc wreaked by drug addiction and other forms of abuse but that there was no money in looking at new directions or solutions to the use and abuse of drugs.The meeting was chock full of dry statistics and nothing else.I did meet Anne Livingston from VANDU(Vancouver area network of drug users)and a very nice and sincere young woman who is evidently a prevention coordinator from youth addiction and prevention services.I remembered her from a meeting I'd attended at UBC where a group of young people working with at risk youth had played a rather dominant part.I also met another young fellow who was new to the whole business and was just there to try to get the lay of the land,so to speak.After talking to me for a short time she (the youth prevention worker)attempted to interject the human factor into the mix and quickly found out that I wasn't kidding when I said that people were just too messy to be bothered with amongst a group of statisticians.I have seen the enemy and he is us.These people are evidently putting together what is called the B.C. pilot alcohol and other drug monitoring project.What it amounts to is that I've been in a vacuum for the last 40 years and only now are statistics being compiled that are relevant to what will be government policy for the new era?There is evidently no data that's relevant for the purpose and only now is this being looked at in a truly scientific manner that policy can be tailored by.To hear this was absolutely unbelievable.I was tempted to ask what they had been doing for the last 100 years and where was all the numbers that had been collected up to this point but all these people were interested in were numbers.People are just too messy and unreliable.They said that anecdotal evidence was unreliable and that people underestimated their alcohol use by 55%.All their drug data was anecdotal,a fact that simply went right over everyones head and I just lost interest in attempting communication after hearing the responses up to that point.If anyone is interested in cold hard data on drug and alcohol use in B.C. the information will be available on their web site.www.carbc.ca or at www.AODmonitoring.ca Evidently you have to click statistics from the carbc site and the other site is for people that require more detailed information.You guys get the data and you get to miss the meeting.Oh,the humanity.
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