Safer injection saves lives - Criminalization of drugs fuels the HIV pandemic
The executive summary of the Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy is damning. The war on drugs isn't working and the "collateral damage" (to use that ignominious term) is its effect on community health and safety. Two extracts from the summary, emphasis mine.
Countries that have adopted evidence-based addiction treatment and public health measures have seen their HIV epidemics among people who use drugs – as well as rates of injecting drug use – dramatically decline. Clear consensus guidelines exist for achieving this success, but HIV prevention tools have been under-utilized while harmful drug war policies have been slow to change.
Any sober assessment of the impacts of the war on drugs would conclude that many national and international organizations tasked with reducing the drug problem have actually contributed to a worsening of community health and safety. This must change.
In April a report came out recommending Ottawa invest in a safe injection site to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis. Having spent time in Vancouver working on the doorstep of the downtown east side I know we can't ignore this health issue. Whatever you might think about personal responsibility and drug use, the fact is HIV and Hepatitis are health issues and our shared values demand we prevent their spread. Even the cold financial arguments are there; it would save us money to operate safe injection sites rather than treat HIV and HepC. I'm repeating myself of course.
Now, Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty, Jim Watson and countless other politicos are ignoring it. More deaths to come. bit.ly/NvUiNk
— Dan Gardner (@dgardner) June 26, 2012
As the executive summary concluded too, this must change.
— Kevin O'Donnell (@ODonnell_K) June 26, 2012