Protect society and the individual from drug-related deaths and disease
Drug policies that depend on the criminal justice system largely fail to protect society from drug related deaths and disease. There are public health initiatives available that are known to be effective in dealing with overdoses, death and infections. Under current policies HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and TB are causing devastation globally.
Health of people first
People with drug problems are patients first; therefore health must become the cornerstone of all drug policies. Criminalization deters people from seeking medical help and has disproportionate repercussions on their futures, employment, education and travel. Young people are particularly affected. Racism pervades the sentencing of drug users.
Improve access to essential medicines
Despite methadone and buprenorphine being on the WHO essential medicines list only 82 countries (out of nearly 200) offer special health services to people with drug problems. Increased access to medicines to treat HIV/AIDS, HCV and tuberculosis is badly needed. Furthermore, approximately 80% of the world's population has very limited access to medication for the treatment of pain.
Expand access to evidence based treatment
The evidence base for Opioid Substitution Treatment is extensive but access to these medicines is limited and there is an urgent need to integrate their use with antiretroviral therapy (ART) while reforming harmful policies that block access to treatment.
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