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AIDS Conference Calls for Ending the War on Drugs

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More calls from sensible, smart professionals to end the  stupid, unproductive, and highly destructive war on drugs:

At the recent XVII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, more than 20,000 professionals who work in the HIV field issued a declaration calling for an end to the war on drugs and the development of an evidence-based and treatment-focused policy for dealing with drug use and abuse.

The declaration says, "The criminalisation of illicit drug users is fueling the HIV epidemic and has resulted in overwhelmingly negative health and social consequences."

Decades of research provide a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of the global "War on Drugs" and, as thousands of individuals gather in Vienna at the XVIII International AIDS Conference, the international scientific community calls for an acknowledgement of the limits and harms of drug prohibition, and for drug policy reform to remove barriers to effective HIV prevention, treatment and care.

The evidence that law enforcement has failed to prevent the availability of illegal drugs, in communities where there is demand, is now unambiguous. Over the last several decades, national and international drug surveillance systems have demonstrated a general pattern of falling drug prices and increasing drug purity–despite massive investments in drug law enforcement.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that increasing the ferocity of law enforcement meaningfully reduces the prevalence of drug use.5 The data also clearly demonstrate that the number of countries in which people inject illegal drugs is growing, with women and children becoming increasingly affected. Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, injection drug use accounts for approximately one in three new cases of HIV. In some areas where HIV is spreading most rapidly, such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia, HIV prevalence can be as high as 70% among people who inject drugs, and in some areas more than 80% of all HIV cases are among this group.

In the context of overwhelming evidence that drug law enforcement has failed to achieve its stated objectives, it is important that its harmful consequences be acknowledged and addressed.

Hear, hear. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors, agrees.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2010 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Medical

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