Comment: Involuntary hospitalization is a zombie idea — why does the NDP keep bringing it back?

published on September 1, 2022 by Marilou Gagnon and Trevor Goodyear in Times Colonist

In their book Zombie Ideas: Why Failed Policy Ideas Persist, political scientists Brainard Guy Peters and Maximilian Lennart Nagel introduce the concept of “zombie ideas.” Zombie ideas are “policy ideas that, although largely unproven in practice, tend to survive and to be adopted again and again.”

As Peters and Nagel point out, zombie ideas are not just bad policy ideas. They are bad policy ideas that keep coming back despite being ineffective and counterproductive; policy ideas that persist in the face of lacking evidence and rationale.

Using involuntary hospitalization to address the overdose crisis in British Columbia is a zombie idea. For more than two years, the NDP has been keeping this policy idea alive. It has done so in the face of indisputable evidence that forcefully detaining people who overdose will cause significant harms, increase barriers to health care, and deter people from seeking help after an overdose…

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