Evidence-based policy rightly forms the backbone for how we tackle problem drug use. But we must recognise the limits of a purely scientific approach, says Marcus Roberts.
The Wikipedia entry for ‘evidence-based policy’ suggests that it “can be traced back as far as the fourteenth century, but it was more recently popularised by the Blair government in the United Kingdom”. The attempt to trace a line of historical provenance from the Black Death to the No 10 Policy Unit deserves full marks for historical sweep, nor perhaps is it entirely fanciful.
But the specific association of evidence-based policy with New Labour suggests that something has been happening in the UK in the last 10 years or so that would have been less conspicuous in the court of Edward III