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  1. bananaskin
    ... Say Compulsory Drug Treatment Violates Human Rights

    Vienna (AP) - Policies that criminalize drug users fuel the spread of AIDS and should be reformed, experts preparing for an international conference said Monday.

    Instead, governments, international organizations and the U.N. should promote policies that include opiate substitution therapy and needle and syringe programs that have been shown to reduce HIV rates without increasing rates of drug use, said the experts from organizations such as the International AIDS Society, the International Center for Science in Drug Policy and the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

    They also want compulsory drug treatment centers to be scrapped, saying they are ineffective and violate human rights.

    "The criminalization of illicit drug users is fueling the HIV epidemic and has resulted in overwhelmingly negative health and social consequences. A full policy reorientation is needed," the experts said in a declaration issued ahead of an AIDS conference that gets under way in the Austrian capital on July 18.

    Among other things, the declaration says there is no evidence that increasing the "ferocity" of law enforcement reduces the prevalence of drug use and claims that the number of countries in which people inject illegal drugs is growing.

    "Many of us in AIDS research and care confront the devastating impacts of misguided drug policies every day," Julio Montaner, president of the International AIDS Society and director of the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said in a statement.

    "As scientists, we are committed to raising our collective voice to promote evidence-based approaches to illicit drug policy that start by recognizing that addiction is a medical condition, not a crime," added Montaner, who will serve as chairman of the Vienna conference.

    The declaration urges governments, international organizations and the United Nations to carry out a transparent review of the effectiveness of current drug policies and to implement a science-based public health approach.

    While legal barriers to needle programs and opiate substitution therapy mean hundreds of thousands of people become infected with HIV and hepatitis C every year, the criminalization of drug users has resulted in record incarceration rates, the experts said in joint statement.

    "The current approach to drug policy is ineffective because it neglects proven and evidence-based interventions, while pouring a massive amount of public funds and human resources into expensive and futile enforcement measures," said Evan Wood, founder of the International Center for Science in Drug Policy.

    "It's time to accept the war on drugs has failed and create drug policies that can meaningfully protect community health and safety using evidence, not ideology."

    Wood appeared to be echoing a comment made by U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske last month. In an interview with The Associated Press, he said that after 40 years the United States' $1 trillion war on drugs has not been successful.

    By Veronika Oleksyn, Associated Press
    Monday, June 28, 2010

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/68574

Comments

  1. godztear
    Strong words, it will be interesting to see if anyone actually receives the message or if they brush it off as nonsense.
  2. KingMe
    [h1]A Global Call To Action For Science-Based Drug Policy At AIDS 2010[/h1]

    Three leading scientific and health policy organizations have launched a global drive for signatories to the Vienna Declaration, a statement seeking to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. Among those supporting the declaration and urging others to sign is 2008 Nobel Laureate and International AIDS Society (IAS) Governing Council member Prof. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of HIV.

    The Vienna Declaration is the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010), the biennial meeting of more than 20,000 HIV professionals, taking place in Vienna, Austria from 18 to 23 July 2010.

    "Many of us in AIDS research and care confront the devastating impacts of misguided drug policies every day," said AIDS 2010 Chair Dr. Julio Montaner, President of the IAS and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. "These policies fuel the AIDS epidemic and result in violence, increased crime rates and destabilization of entire states - yet there is no evidence they have reduced rates of drug use or drug supply. As scientists, we are committed to raising our collective voice to promote evidence-based approaches to illicit drug policy that start by recognizing that addiction is a medical condition, not a crime."

    The Vienna Declaration describes the known harms of conventional "war on drugs" approaches and states:

    "The criminalisation of illicit drug users is fuelling the HIV epidemic and has resulted in overwhelmingly negative health and social consequences. A full policy reorientation is needed...Reorienting drug policies towards evidence-based approaches that respect, protect and fulfill human rights has the potential to reduce harms deriving from current policies and would allow for the redirection of the vast financial resources towards where they are needed most: implementing and evaluating evidence-based prevention, regulatory, treatment and harm reduction interventions."

    Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, injecting drug use accounts for approximately one in three new cases of HIV. In some areas of rapid HIV spread, such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia, injecting drug use is the primary cause of new HIV infections. Legal barriers to scientifically proven prevention services such as needle programmes and opioid substitution therapy (OST) mean hundreds of thousands of people become infected with HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) every year. The criminalization of people who inject drugs has also resulted in record incarceration rates placing a massive burden on the taxpayer. HIV outbreaks have also been reported in prisons in various settings internationally. This emphasis on criminalization produces a cycle of disease transmission, along with broken homes and livelihoods destroyed. Yet these costs, along with the more direct costs of the 'war on drugs', produce no measurable benefits.

    "The current approach to drug policy is ineffective because it neglects proven and evidence-based interventions, while pouring a massive amount of public funds and human resources into expensive and futile enforcement measures," said Dr. Evan Wood, founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia. "It's time to accept the war on drugs has failed and create drug policies that can meaningfully protect community health and safety using evidence, not ideology."

    The Vienna Declaration calls on governments and international organizations, including the United Nations, to take a number of steps, including:

    * undertake a transparent review the effectiveness of current drug policies;
    * implement and evaluate a science-based public health approach to address the harms stemming from illicit drug use;
    * scale up evidence-based drug dependence treatment options;
    * abolish ineffective compulsory drug treatment centres that violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and
    * unequivocally endorse and scale up funding for the drug treatment and harm reduction measures endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations.

    The declaration also calls for the meaningful involvement of people who use drugs in developing, monitoring and implementing services and policies that affect their lives.

    "As a scientist, I strongly support drug policies that are based on evidence of what actually works," said Prof. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit at the Institute Pasteur, IAS Governing Council member and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Medicine. "I join with my colleagues around the world today to sign the Vienna Declaration in support of science-driven policies and human rights."

    The effectiveness of opioid substitution therapy (OST) and needles and syringe programmes is well-documented, though access to such interventions is often limited where HIV is spreading most rapidly. According to various scientific reviews conducted by WHO, the US Institutes of Medicine and others, these programmes reduce HIV rates without increasing rates of drug use. These cost-effective interventions also produce significant savings in future health care costs, and help people who use drugs access health care and drug treatment. No evidence exists demonstrating negative consequences of use of these programmes.

    "Reflecting the AIDS 2010 theme of Rights Here, Right Now, the Vienna Declaration is rooted in the belief that global drug policy must respect the human rights of people who use drugs if it is to be at all effective," said AIDS 2010 Local Co-Chair Dr. Brigitte Schmied, President of the Austrian AIDS Society. "No one who is familiar with addiction would deny the negative impacts it has on individuals, families and entire communities, but those harms do not justify human rights violations. People addicted to illicit drugs have the right to evidence-based drug treatment, to interventions to prevent infection, and, if they are living with HIV, to antiretroviral treatment."

    The Vienna Declaration was drafted by an international team of scientists and other experts, many of whom will participate in AIDS 2010 next month. It was initiated by the IAS, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Those wishing to sign on may visit http://www.viennadeclaration.com, where the full text of the declaration, along with a list of authors, is available. The two-page declaration references 28 reports, describing the scientific evidence documenting the effectiveness of public health approaches to drug policy and the negative consequences of approaches that criminalize drug users.

    About AIDS 2010:
    The XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) is the biennial meeting of researchers, implementers and diverse leaders involved in the global response to HIV. It is convened by the IAS in partnership with international, regional and local partners.


    29 June 2010

    Source:
    Lindsey Rodger
    International AIDS Society
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/193253.php
  3. LordeV
    The clutter generated by the infamous War on Drugs is so deep and dense that even if Governments were to accept a reverse in policy, it will still take decades to undo the bad propaganda and stigmatization done during these last forty years -- and you all know damn well that most Governments aren't keen to admit they were wrong or deal with the consequences of suddenly having to release thousands of prisoners into the streets. Chances are you will see entire countries delving deep into anarchy before you see one of the bastions of War on Drugs abandoning its policies.
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