Governments Should Examine Drug Policies to Slow HIV Transmission Among IDUs
July 30, 2010
In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, Evan Wood, associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, writes about the Vienna Declaration, a document he helped to draft, that calls for international leaders to revise drug policies to incorporate greater scientific evidence and promote HIV prevention, treatment and care for drug users.
After contending that "the U.S.-led war on drugs has played a central role in driving the HIV epidemic around the world," Wood writes of the support the declaration has received: "In just a few short weeks since being made public, the Vienna Declaration has been endorsed by more than 13,600 individuals, including five Nobel laureates and various other global leaders in science, medicine and public health. There also have been signs that the world may be heading toward more reasoned drug policies. Just before the Vienna conference, the Obama administration announced overdue and welcome steps to help fight the HIV epidemic among drug users. Most important, given the strong support for syringe exchange programs from the U.S. Institute of Medicine and WHO, the administration has reversed a longtime ban on funding clean syringe programs."
"But there is still much that needs to be done," Wood continues, "including that governments 'undertake a transparent review of the effectiveness of current drug policies.' Given the international public health emergency presented by HIV among drug users and the estimated $2.5 trillion in tax dollars wasted on the drug war over the last 40 years, the U.S. should move forward with this simple call," Wood concludes (7/28).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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