These four essays were commissioned as part of a wide ranging and unique study looking at how drug policy is made in the UK.
Drug use and dependence is a very complex area, which impacts in different ways on many people and has ramifications throughout society. It is also a particularly controversial area. Successive commentaries have noted that drug policy is often driven by a mix of reactivity, polarised, position-driven analysis and campaigning interests, emotive media reporting, adversarial relationships between scientists, experts and policy makers along with a contested and limited evidence base.
These essays, written by respected drug policy and research experts, shine a light on some key issues and challenges that face policymakers and those seeking ways to improve drug policy.
The first issue, examined by Professor Susanne MacGregor, is how Parliament holds the Executive to account through the process of scrutiny.
The next by Dr Neil McKeganey explores how language and framing can shape political and public understanding of issues leading to evidence and policy becoming ‘disconnected’.
Dr Mark Monaghan then looks at how the debate about cannabis has become embroiled in controversy over recent years and what this can tell us about the efficacy of the governance process.
Finally Dr Marcus Roberts considers the contribution that consultation processes make to the process of public engagement in drug policies and how these might be made more effective.
The overview and background reports for the research are available below: