A new textbook illustrates the complex and multi-faceted dimensions of evidence building in European drugs research. On one level, the authors have identified practical and philosophical challenges regarding knowledge production including, for example, measurements of the drugs problem; researching the online world; and interpreting on-site drug tests.
On another level, the authors have highlighted challenges regarding knowledge production such as the misuse of evidence by knowledge brokers and policymakers. Even evidence reported to be apolitical is shown to be deeply political by inter alia privileging the norms and values of dominant methodologies, institutions, and powerful interestgroups. And, by so doing, increasing the resources and power of what Cohen refers to as the "Shareholders of the drugs industry".
Despite the widespread acceptance of evidence as a metaphor for objective, value-free science, the contributors demonstrate how evidence is selected, interpreted, constructed and (mis)used to frame, support, justify and legitimise particular discursive arguments within the policy process, especially those promoting prohibitionist paradigms.
The findings of these studies capture the zeitgeist of these post-truth times where power elites shape dominant discourses by asserting truth claims that resonate with people´s emotions and personal beliefs rather than being underpinned by methodologically rigorous evidence ...
Aileen O´Gorman, Gary R. Potter, Jane Fountain (Eds.) Evidence in European social drug research and drug policy. Pabst, 132 pages, ISBN print 978-3-95853-263-2, ISBN e-book 978-3-95853-264-9