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HIV/AIDS Epidemic Fueled by the War on Drugs, Says Commission

Elizabeth Renter
June 30th, 2012
Updated 11/02/2012 at 7:09 pm
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stoponpalm 235x147 HIV/AIDS Epidemic Fueled by the War on Drugs, Says Commission

This day and age, it’s not unusual to find someone who thinks the War on Drugs is a waste of time and money. But it’s rarer to find an entire commission of esteemed global leaders willing to say such a thing. This week, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report calling on countries of the world to not only reevaluate their approach but dramatically shift the way they handle drug offenses. The failing drug war fueling the HIV/AIDs epidemic is just one reason to reevaluate how things are done.

War on Drugs and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

According to CBC News, former Supreme Court justice and former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Louise Arbour characterized the current situation as a “public health disaster” and a “colossal waste” of money.

She isn’t alone in her sentiments. The Commission features six former presidents from around the world, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and famous British businessman Richard Branson. It is largely considered the most esteemed panel on drug policies ever gathered.

The report links the drug war to the HIV/AIDS epidemic – higher infection rates – saying one-third of all new HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa can be directly linked to unsafe drug use. Because addicts are afraid of being sent to prison, they hide their addictions, believing that asking for help is also asking for imprisonment.

Prohibition isn’t working, according to the Commission. They report that it may even be driving increased crime, by forcing otherwise nonviolent offenders to engage in risky behavior in order to obtain drugs.

Also, they point out that global drug supply has not been reduced at all by the current law enforcement policies. Heroin, for example, has increased by “more than 380 percent in recent decades.”

According to the Commission’s official website, these are the recommendations they have for leaders and policy makers around the world:

- Push national governments to halt the practice of arresting and imprisoning people who use drugs but do no harm to others.

-  Measure drug policy success by indicators that have real meaning in communities, such as reduced rates of transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases, fewer overdose deaths, reduced drug market violence, fewer individuals incarcerated and lowered rates of problematic substance use.

- Respond to the fact that HIV risk behavior resulting from repressive drug control policies and under-funding of evidence-based approaches is the main issue driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic in many regions of the world.

- Act urgently: The war on drugs has failed, and millions of new HIV infections and AIDS deaths can be averted if action is taken now.

From around the web:

  • Hustle

    What will b done about the hundreds. Of thousands of jobs lost by the decriminalization? I agree it's asinine to arrest. People over plants but Ann entire industry has been created around it. The way to fix this for everyone involved, from the smokers to the construction company's would b slow and steady. Allowing people to ener a new job market, rather than the poor house. If we're reversed right now crime would probably go up! And it wouldn't be the smokers it would be the people who lost there jobs!

  • joe bassett

    It used to be nobody wanted a prison near their home and they didn't want to work there, but now the ask to build them in their community. They love to work there, because they do absolutely nothing. They make about $40,000 a year, but it's the fact they sit there and only unlock doors appeals to lazy bastards,

  • Doug Eberspacher

    I can drink alcohol. I can take all kinds of prescription drugs. But I can't eat a marijuana plant. Am I allowed to eat cokeberry if you can get high? Marijuana grows wild in the woods. I'm allowed to eat grass and tree leaves.

  • Italics Mine

    Of course it's a disaster. Anyone with an ounce of foresight could see that 100,000 arrests for cannabis is not a solution. Government now arrests close to one MILLION a year, and is clueless that they took a wrong turn decades ago and just kept on going. And like most men filled with hubris, think the solution is more police with bigger clubs.

  • Roy

    Is this the best excuses they can come up with?

    Meth is in every town in the nation, and 99.9% of it comes from Mexico. Do the math. It would take truck caravans and air shipments running across the border 24/7 to supply every single town in the nation, not to mention Cocaine,marijuana, and Heroin also from Mexico.

    This kind of supply can not go unnoticed by officials, but it passes through because the government is the main characters involved, making billions of dollars at it.Does anyone really think they'll give a shit about HIV, and Aids victims? Yes there is much more they could expose if they really wanted the war on drugs to end? Hell no.

    • josh

      i agree and thought the same thing, if they truely wanted it to stop they could bring to light a whole like more. most people will read this and think its the drug addicts decition so they will ahve to live with the consequences of ther action. in my opinion the article only had one thing in it that would wake up people to how rediculous this so called war was and that was how much heroin says have increased. they needed to show more stats like that if they truely want this facade to end.

    • joe bassett

      How could they care when the nuclear stuff that leaks out gives millions cancer and they want to eliminate 5 billion on earth anyway. People need to be more careful. They should use a vaporizer or eat pot brownies. There is nothing wrong with a little pot. In fact many people would mellow out and contorl their anger with pot. Pot is a weed. The safest thing on earth. But it cures diseases. Now smoking it does put crap in your lungs, but there are other ways. If everyone were to eat pot brownies it would be a better world.