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New report launched from the Global Commission on Drug Policy
Today was the launch of the Global Commission on Drug Policy's latest report. This influential group used this report to stress the relationship between drug prohibition and HIV with much of the report focusing on the policies of countries of the US, China and Russia, all of whom "...ignored scientific evidence and resisted the implementation of evidence-based HIV prevention programmes – with devastating consequences". At a time when 1 in 5 of the 16 million injecting drug users are HIV positive, recommendations were made to world leaders and the United Nations to finally accept the devastating effects of the ‘War on Drugs’ on public health.
Importantly for young people and Youth RISE, the former President of Switzerland, Ruth Dreifuss also identified the necessity for world leaders, governments and the UN to accept that many young people will experiment with drugs and that it is vital to provide accurate information about psychoactive substances to young people. Former president Dreifuss also drew particular attention to the potential harms exposed to young people; from being liable to contract HIV and Hepatitis C through shared needles, to long term incarceration and made special mention of the need for young people to be able to access harm reduction services.
Youth RISE's Anita Krug also asked the panel about their views regarding the importance of not having age restrictions for young people so that they can access harm reduction services. Michael Kazatchkine former executive director of the Global Fund agreed that "... there is no reason why harm reduction measures should not be accessible for young people". Ruth Dreifuss also agreed that greater emphasis needs to be placed on youth being able to access these services and hopefully will be something the global commission will continue to explore. Imporant statements were also made about how “...change of policy will not come from the top, it has to come from the bottom”,highlighting the vital role civil society organisations play in advocating for reform.
You can watch the full press conference here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXKFF5INM4o&feature=share