This chapter introduces the themes of the book, describing the interplay between politics and evidence. In politicised policy areas, understandings of evidence are clouded by the fact that it is difficult to locate, or can appear spurious, and is often conflated with absence. Although doubt is cast on the claim that ‘evidence’ will be discarded in policy areas that are highly politicised, the chapter suggests that claims that policies which engage with evidence on any level are ‘evidence-based’ are also logically problematic. The discussion argues that neither standpoint accurately depicts the relationship between evidence and policy making in this scenario. It considers the issue of UK drug classification to illustrate the subtleties of evidence use in this context.
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