HIV/AIDS charities have warned that the global war on narcotics is “driving” the HIV pandemic in drug-users / Getty Images


HIV/Aids charities have backed calls for the decriminalisation of drugs, warning that the global war on narcotics is “driving” the HIV pandemic in drug-users.

In a letter sent to David Cameron today, the National Aids Trust, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the Terrence Higgins Trust join more than 80 organisations, politicians, doctors and scientists in calling for an “end to the criminalisation of people who use drugs”.

The letter urges the Prime Minister to “reaffirm” a commitment he made in 2002 when a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, when he supported a recommendation that the then Labour Government should “initiate a discussion” of “alternative ways – including the possibility of legalisation and regulation – to tackle the global drugs dilemma”.

Calls for reform to UK drug policy have been growing in recent years, with the prospect of some form of decriminalisation gaining ever broader support.

Among the signatories to the letter are several MPs and members of the House of Lords, as well as senior lawyers and high profile figures including Sir Richard Branson.

“Evidence from other countries, including the Czech Republic, Portugal and Australia, demonstrates that when a non-criminal response is adopted, use of drugs does not increase and the significant harms associated with criminalisation, including HIV transmission, are dramatically reduced,” the letter states.

Demonstrations against the global war on drugs will take place in 100 cities worldwide today.