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Protesting too much?

Posted by mdaube on 11 Dec 2014 at 11:40 GMT

Stimson attacks McCambridge and colleagues for suggesting that there was “a close relationship” between the International Harm Reduction Association and the alcohol industry. He asserts that “there was no such thing: there was no close relationship, association or collaboration with the alcohol industry” during the period when he was Director the IHRA between 2004-2010.[1]

In relation to Drinking in Context, Stimson asserts that “Any innuendo or inference that this was a collaboration between IHRA and ICAP is false”.

Yet an ICAP Review from November 2006 which “sets the stage for the upcoming publication, Drinking in Context…” and entitled, “Drinking in Context: A collective responsibility” is authored by “Gerry V. Stimson, International Harm Reduction Association and Imperial College London, UK”.[2]

Further, a 27 March 2007 ICAP media release announces that Drinking in Context “is being launched today by the International Centre for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) at the House of Commons”, at an event “hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Alcohol Misuse, Beer, Cider, Scotch Whiskey and Wine & Spirits…” The first person quoted in the ICAP media release is Professor Stimson. The release also quotes the President of ICAP, Marcus Grant, as arguing that “a more efficient use of scarce resources is to direct them at those individuals at risk for harm and those settings and behaviours that are problematic” rather than some population approaches.[3].

The release specifies in relation to “Drinking in Context” that, “ICAP has taken the lead in the preparation of the book but with the contribution of three other organizations”, of which the first named is the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA).

It may also be worth noting that an editorial acknowledgement in the 2006 International Journal of Drug Policy “would like to thank the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) for proposing a special session, at their 2005 Belfast conference, on alcohol issues and the International Centre for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) for arranging that session” and adds special thanks to an ICAP staff member.[4]

The website for the Fourth International Conference on Alcohol and Harm Reduction (2008) provides just one further example of apparent collaboration between IHRA and ICAP.[5]

It is difficult to see how Professor Stimson can sustain his position that there was no close relationship, association or collaboration between IHRA and the alcohol industry.

References

1. Stimson G. False dichotomy, flawed evidence and weak assertions [response to Alcohol Harm Reduction: Corporate Capture of a Key Concept]. PLoS Medicine. 2014.
2. Stimson GV. Drinking in context: A collective responsibility. International Center for Alcohol Policies; November 2006.
3. International Center for Alcohol Policies. New book "Drinking in Context" proposes that reducing harm around drinking is a collective responsibility [media release] [Internet]. ICAP; March 2007 [updated Mar 27 2007; cited Dec 11 2014]. Available from: http://www.icap.org/.
4. Robson G, Marlatt GA. Harm reduction and alcohol policy. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2006; 17(4):255-257.
5. Quest for Quality BV, International Harm Reduction Association. 4th International Conference on Alcohol and Harm Reduction [Sunday May 11, 2008]. 2008 [cited Dec 11 2014]. Available from: http://www.q4q.nl/4th/org....



Competing interests declared: I am Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth.

RE: Protesting too much?

plosmedicine replied to mdaube on 11 Dec 2014 at 22:50 GMT

This comment refers to an earlier comment by Professor Gerry Stimson that was withdrawn at his request. The request and flagging for removal occurred before the comment by Professor Daube was posted.

No competing interests declared.