The BC provincial government demanded the destruction of a research database used to generate years of peer-reviewed evidence informing solutions addressing chronic homelessness, addiction, and community safety while shovelling billions of taxpayer dollars into the BC Housing Crown Corp. with little oversight or success measurement.
Dr. Julian Somers created an “Inter-Ministry Evaluation Database” (IMED), in 2004 to correlate data about vulnerable populations across various B.C. ministries (health, social services and justice). This research tracked hospital visits, criminal incidents, medications, and income assistance. This research culminated in a more accurate and holistic measurement of impacts or effectiveness of government programs. This work has been referenced in at least 30 provincial reports, 60 peer-reviewed publications and graduate theses.
The database was also utilized for a $20-million research project that focused on Vancouver’s array of anti-poverty programs. Four hundred ninety seven participants were randomly assigned to three groups with different support programs and tracked over five years. The conclusion? B.C.’s standard approach to homelessness was essentially a failure.
That failed model across BC and Canada is “warehousing homeless people” in large groups, of mostly those fresh off the streets still battling addictions and mental health challenges, with little support for recovery, life skills or social reintegration. Much of their so-called “treatment” consists merely of freely given publicly funded harmful drugs, “safe supply”. Those who seek recovery languish on months-long wait lists for detox beds. Reinforced by addicts themselves whose chief goals included breaking free of their addictions, Somers work confirmed the “common-sense notion that it’s better to empower people to get back on their feet, rather than foster dependency through easy access to free drugs.”
Interviewed in the National Post, Dr. Kelly Anthony, at University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health Sciences, said she believes Somers is “being punished” for criticizing government commitments to “safe supply.” She considers “safe supply is poorly researched and “consigns the addict to be a slave forever.” Unlike Somers, she said “many academics are uncomfortable publicly criticizing it due to silencing, shunning and political pressure.”
See page two of the BC Government letter below that states: