Evidence in European Social Drug Research and Drug Policy

Aileen O'Gorman (Editor), Gary R. Potter (Editor), Jane Fountain (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Evidence as a metaphor for knowledge characterised by the positivist traits of objectivity, validity and value-free truths is a contested commodity within the social science community, not least in the field of drugs research. The politics of knowledge production—including how research is produced, funded and interpreted through a lens clouded by values and ideology—is an ongoing topic for debate and enquiry. Nonetheless, the demand for objective data to inform evidence-based policy and practice, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of ‘what works’ and what is value for money, continues to grow exponentially. Research funders increasingly prioritise studies that have a demonstrable input into or impact on policy.

The contributors to this book cast a critical gaze on the concept of evidence. They challenge the positioning of evidence as the neutral product of an apolitical process and demonstrate, through case studies and policy analysis, the social construction of evidence by those who make and seek to influence policy. The authors question the epistemological and ontological basis of different forms of evidence; the selective accommodation of evidence and voices within dominant policy discourses; and the popular conception of evidence-based policy as a benchmark of good policymaking. Together, the various chapters provide a compelling insight into the complex contexts in which social drugs research evidence is produced, constructed, (mis)used and (mis)interpreted across Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLengerich, Germany
PublisherPabst Science Publishers
Number of pages132
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-95853-264-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-95853-263-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • drugs research
  • evidence
  • evidence based policy
  • ESSD
  • Europe


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  • Board of Management

    Aileen O'Gorman (Member)

    6 Sep 2015

    Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

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