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Do your homework, fellas. It's almost 2015!

Posted by RickLines on 11 Dec 2014 at 15:29 GMT

I am the Executive Director of Harm Reduction International (formerly known as IHRA). I don't make a habit of responding to online forums, but this article (and the comment of m.daube) are so bizarre I felt compelled to write a few words.

Harm Reduction International is a global leader in the areas of HIV, public health, human rights and drug policy reform, and I'd be happy to discuss our many activities and achievements. For those who would rather speculate on what was or wasn't happening regarding our work on alcohol harm reduction in 2006 or 2008 (or even 2005!), or what my predecessor Prof Stimson has been doing in the nearly five years since he left the organisation, I leave that to you.

A rudimentary search of our website will show we have no alcohol-related projects on the go, and haven't been involved in alcohol harm reduction since 2010, the year I became chief executive. So the article's suggestion of an ongoing relationship with the alcohol industry, or even ongoing work on the alcohol issue, is simply wrong - information that could have been easily obtained from a phone call or an email (heck, the authors might even have figured out the gentleman they say is our Executive Director actually retired in 2010!)

In the face of our complete lack of alcohol-related projects in recent years, any allegation that the industry has unduly influenced our work or visibility on this issue is odd to say the least. If that was indeed the industry's intention, I would suggest the evidence shows it was remarkably ineffective in achieving that outcome.

I have emailed the editors with a formal complaint about this article, seeking correction and retraction. I laughed when I saw that the instruction for comments includes a rule against writing 'unsupported allegations and assumptions'. I suggest the editors apply that same rule to their articles.

Dr Rick Lines
Executive Director
Harm Reduction International

Competing interests declared: I am the Executive Director of Harm Reduction International (aka IHRA), so am actually informed on what we do.