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The World in Medicine
August 4, 2010

Science-Based Drug Policy

JAMA. 2010;304(5):513. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1045

Current policies that criminalize use of illicit drugs fuel the AIDS epidemic and should be revised to incorporate evidence-based approaches, according to 3 scientific and health policy organizations.

The groups, the International AIDS Society, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, and the BC [British Columbia] Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, called for signatories to the Vienna Declaration ( This document (the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference, held in July in Vienna, Austria) notes that there is unambiguous evidence that law enforcement has failed to prevent the availability of illegal drugs or reduce the prevalence of drug use and that this approach has such harmful consequences as fueling HIV transmission (the result of barring the provision of sterile needles and other policies) and severe human rights violations (including torture and execution of illicit drug users in some countries).

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