Monitoring and evaluation

88. In light of the weakness of the evidence base, it was disappointing to hear that opportunities were being missed to gather data to evaluate the effect of changes in drug-related policies. Professor John Strang, Director of the National Addiction Centre, told us: "we are ill informed about whether the changes [in drug classifications] have made [the situation] better or worse", particularly with respect to cannabis.180 He argued that, although "the political process sometimes needs to make decisions with a pace that does not fit science and the gathering of evidence [...] when a decision is made I would expect to know three years down the line had the trajectory carried on going up or had it taken off".181 DrugScope cited another missed opportunity: "A case in point might be ketamine, controlled in January 2006 as a Class C drug, but with no prevalence data against which to track the impact of control".182 The Government has been remiss in failing to conduct a proper evaluation of the impact of its policy decisions in this area and has, as a result, missed out on opportunities to gather valuable data to improve policy making in the future.

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