The New War on Drugs : How Biomedicine and Science Have Disguised the Value Conflict Over Harm Reduction
Haverford College. Department of Sociology
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While other countries such as Canada and Portugal have embraced safe injection facilities (SIFs), establishments that permit people to inject drugs under the supervision of medical personnel in order to prevent drug overdose-related mortalities, the United States has been resistant to this political change. This thesis examines how politicians and stakeholders use moral values and science to make claims pertaining to health policy, specifically focusing on the controversy over SIFs in Philadelphia. Political stakeholders frequently claim that the rise of scientific technology has removed moral value commitments from the political response to drug addiction, and that an appeal to scientific studies can help Philadelphia land on the best policy. However, I argue that the appeal to science disguises the true nature of the political controversy: a conflict of individualistic values versus values of social justice, the same value conflict that existed during the War on Drugs.