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Elusive Evidence: Hard-to-Reach Drug Users and the Missing Values in Drug Policy Decision Making



The 1997 Labour Government's commitment to research-based criminal justice policy held the promise of greater clarity in the drugs/crime link and evaluation of measures to tackle drug use. This article gives a critical assessment of the introduction of drug testing arrestees at police stations as part of the move to force drug users into treatment. The account supports the equivocal findings on the effectiveness of drug testing. It identifies how the rush for evidence with emphasis on quantitative methods conspired to leave the most marginalised problematic drug users hidden from the evaluation.