This is not mere disregard for reliable data. It is an attempt by the state to put falsehood in the place of reliable data. George Orwell wrote books about this sort of thing.Read it here.
Really, what more is there to say? I wrote recently about the damage that results from turning ignorance into a civic virtue, and here's a prime example.
And looky here: it seems some of Harper's fans don't like what Paul has to say. And they don't like what the peer-reviewed facts and evidence about Insite and harm-reduction strategies suggest. And, of course, they think that name-calling and sticking their fingers in their ears and going "la la la, I can't hear you" are the same thing as reasoned argument.
A couple of weeks ago Bob Herbert wrote about America's continuing abandonment of education as a public good. If what we're witnessing is the decline and fall of Imperium Americana, that's got to be a big part of the reason.
This is the road the modern right wants to take: knowledge, experience and expertise are no longer qualities to be valued, but indicia of condescending, out-of-touch elitists, to be reviled, disdained and demonized. How much hope is there for a political strategy (or a society, for that matter) based on the deliberate cultivation of stupidity?
(Update: Chet has some further thoughts on the matter.)