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IAS urges Russian government to radically reassess counterproductive drug policies
Date:6/27/2011

us scientific reviews conducted by the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine (U.S.) and others, these programmes reduce HIV rates without increasing drug use.

"With an estimated 6 million heroin addicts, Russia's hard-line "war on drugs" has proved entirely ineffective in terms of curbing the growing numbers of injecting drug users, " said IAS President Elly Katabira. "Injecting drug-use is also fuelling Russia's HIV crisis because, despite the addition of OST medicines to the World Health Organization's essential medicine's list, and despite the growing international acknowledgement of the success of harm reduction programmes OST is banned in Russia and needle exchange programmes are scarce."

Last year, the International AIDS Society, along with other leading scientific and health policy organizations, launched the Vienna Declaration (www.viennadeclaration.com), a statement seeking to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. The statement calls for a complete reorientation of international drug policy towards evidence-based approaches that respect, protect and fulfill human rights, and which would allow for the redirection of the vast financial resources spent on law-enforcement towards where they are needed most: implementing and evaluating evidence-based prevention, regulatory, treatment and harm reduction interventions. Over 20, 000 scientists, policy makers and political figures, including three former Latin American presidents, Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), Ernesto Zedillo (Mxico) and Csar Gaviria (Colombia), have signed the declaration.

"To deny people evidence-based treatment and then to jail them in overcrowded prisons -- where individuals already vulnerable to HIV infection are placed in an even higher risk setting -- amounts to nothing less than state complicity in human rights
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Contact: Lindsey Rodger
lindsey.rodger@iasociety.org
International AIDS Society
Source:Eurekalert

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