UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The use of knowledge translation and legal proceedings to support evidence-based drug policy in Canada : opportunities and ongoing challenges DeBeck, Kora; Kerr, Thomas


There is growing recognition, particularly in the areas of illicit drug policy and HIV prevention, that policy-makers are in many instances implementing suboptimal programs and services because they are not basing their decisions on the best available scientific evidence. One notable example where a policy-making body has failed to use scientific evidence to inform policy is the Canadian federal government’s opposition to Vancouver’s supervised injection facility despite a large body of scientific evidence indicating that the program is associated with a range of health and social benefits. Two of the key strategies that have been used to try to shift drug policy toward an evidence-based approach and maintain the operation of this evidence-based health facility are knowledge translation and legal actions. We provide an overview of these two strategies and hope it will offer lessons for the implementation of evidence-based approaches in other controversial areas of public policy.

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