Home > An evidence-based policy in a moral panic: linking Local Drugs Task Forces to drug treatment data.

McGarry, Kathryn (2004) An evidence-based policy in a moral panic: linking Local Drugs Task Forces to drug treatment data. Masters thesis, Trinity College Dublin.

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This dissertation considers the case of Irish drugs policy in 1996 which saw a change in established government thinking on drugs misuse to take account of social causality. This study seeks to investigate the extent to which this policy was evidence-based using drug treatment data by exploring all the mitigating factors. This research is grounded in theories of evidence-based policy making and models of the relationship between research, policy and practice. The methodology was from a mixed methods approach including a case study of the 1996 Irish drugs policy which is single-case embedded design study. The embedded unit of the design takes a look at Blanchardstown Local Drugs Task Force. Investigation for this study was carried out using qualitative interviews, quantitative data analysis, documentary analysis and extended literature reviews.

The study finds that three major dynamics contribute to the change in government drug strategy in 1996, presenting a special case of evidence-based policy. The three dynamics are political imperative, political incentive and political legitimation. The drug treatment data is used to legitimate the government's policy decision. Raging a war on drugs is rejected in favour of context-based evidence-based drugs policies. Such responsive evidence-based policies, which would unleash the potential of Local Drugs Task Forces, call for an interactive model of linkage and exchange between researchers, policy makers and practitioners in the area of drug misuse in Ireland

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Policy
Call No
MP18.2, VH4.2
vii, 1
Not in Trinity library catalogue
Accession Number
HRB 2985 (Available)

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