Drug policies 'caused HIV epidemic'


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The Independent Online

Governments around the world have failed in their war on drugs and fuelled a pandemic in HIV, a leading think tank warns.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy criticises nations for imprisoning non-violent drug users and for driving them away from public health services.

In its report published today, the commission condemns "the remarkable failure of drug law enforcement policies" in cutting the world drug supply.

The report's authors praise countries where "addiction is treated as a health issue", such as Australia, Portugal and Switzerland, where newly diagnosed HIV infections have been nearly eliminated among drug users.

But the authors criticised nations including the United States, China and Thailand, which have "ignored scientific evidence and resisted the implementation of evidence-based HIV prevention programmes – with devastating consequences."

The commission is composed of figures such as Virgin's Richard Branson and Paul Volcker, ex-chairman of the US Federal Reserve.