Drug Legalization

WHO: Decriminalize Intravenous Drug Use to Help End HIV


a syringe

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report this month called "Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations." It assessed several different ways to slow the spread of HIV, including this interesting note:

"Criminalization of drug possession and use is the most important issue facing PWID [people who inject drugs]….In addition to exceptionally low coverage, an effective AIDS response among people who inject drugs is undermined by punitive policy frameworks and law enforcement practices, which discourage individuals from seeking the health and social services they need."

The WHO reported that the legal environment in countries around the world must be overcome before appropriate harm reduction practices can even begin to be implemented. One of the four main points that the WHO identified: "Decriminalization of injecting drug use is the key to effective harm reduction."

"Currently, penalties for possession and use send PWID to prisons, where they are often denied protection and harm reduction services; create climates of stigmatization and fear, which discourage PWID from seeking vital services; and fuel the distrust and exclusion that PWID experience as marginalized members of society."

Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001 in response to the declining health of drug users in the country. George Murkin, the policy and communications officer for Transform Drugs, published a report last month detailing some of the benefits that have come from Portugal's decriminalization. He reported that drug use among the group most likely to use drugs, 15- to 24-year-olds, declined; average rates of use in the general population have decreased; drug use is below the European average; and most importantly, the number of people injecting drugs decreased from 2000-2005, which is the time period with the most recent available data. The WHO's solution to the spread of HIV appears to have worked in Portugal, because over the past decade the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases has dropped at an astounding rate for people who inject drugs, falling from 1,016 in 2001 to 56 in 2012. 

NEXT: Sen. Mike Lee Calls for Repeal of Costly and Destructive New Deal Labor Law

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This report came from WHO?

    1. Bunch of doctors, apparently.

  2. Hello everyone I felt this might be of help to someone out there, I amBETTY DONNIEfrom Texas USA, my mom was diagnosed of stage 2 cancer in 2012 but she is free from the disease now. I was introduced by a close friend to Dr MARK a herbal doctor who treated my mom with herbal cure for a period of time. We have done test several times and have been told the cancer is gone. This same Dr MARK also cured me from herpes simplex which I was suffering from for years now. All thanks to him add him email: (markherbs1960 @ gmail. com)(+2 3 4 8 1 4 3 1 4 6 4 1 3)whatapp number
    I read that the man is so powerful he had cured different types of diseases, Like





    CANCER and so on…

    contact him on email
    (markherbs1960 @gmail. com)whatapp + 2 3 4 8 1 4 3 1 4 6 4 1 3

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.