Scientific evidence and public policy: the Swiss heroin trial and syringe exchange programs in the USA

Abu S. Abdul-Quader,

Scientists and policy makers do not always speak the same language or even view life in the same way. Thus, the differing expectations and ‘values’ of scientists and policy makers create inevitable tension.  However, civil society inclusive of scientists and policy makers share the same responsibility to achieve social betterment and to develop policies/ interventions in order to achieve that goal.  In this vein, we will examine one case, the) heroin trial in Switzerland, where a public health threat (heroin use) initially yielded two opposing solutions without sufficient evidence but eventually longitudinal research data turned the majority of the public and policymakers to support a referendum which ultimately became law. Furthermore, presenter will facilitate a discussion with participants to explore other present day dilemmas/examples where science alone may not determine policy and what steps scientist can take to prepare themselves for this situation.

Venue: UNU-MERIT, Room 1.25

Date: 22 November 2017

Time: 16:00 - 17:00