drug policy / HIV

The Vienna Declaration: A Global Call to Action for Science-Based Drug Policy

The following announcement is sent to you by the Canadian Harm Reduction Network
http://www.canadianharmreduction.com
Please visit our website, check it out and support us by becoming a member.

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Please circulate widely . . .

The Vienna Declaration: A Global Call to Action for Science-Based Drug Policy

In lead up to XVIII International AIDS Conference, scientists and other leaders call for reform of international drug policy and urge others to sign-on

28 June 2010 [Vienna, Austria] – The International AIDS Society, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy and the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS today 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. 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.

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.”

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.

To sign the Vienna Declaration, please visit the official website at http://www.viennadeclaration.com/. There you will find the full text of the declaration in Chinese, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, along with a list of authors. 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.

Again, the web address for the Vienna Declaration is http://www.viennadeclaration.com/.

Please sign on, and urge your colleagues and friends to do so as well.

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