AIDS and the Drug War

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 7-13-12

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 7-13-12.

Question of the Week: Does the drug war cause AIDS?

A new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy seems to think so.

Entitled, “The War on Drugs and HIV/AIDS: How the criminalization of fuels the global pandemic,” this report in its opening sentence put it bluntly:

“The global war on drugs is driving the HIV/AIDS pandemic among people who use drugs and their sexual partners. Throughout the world, research has consistently shown that repressive drug law enforcement practices force drug users away from public health services and into hidden environments where HIV risk becomes markedly elevated.”

The report goes on to support this bold statement with these telling statistics.

“…the worldwide supply of illicit opiates, such as heroin, has increased by more than 380 percent in recent decades, from 1000 metric tons in 1980 to more than 4800 metric tons in 2010. This increase coincided with a 79 percent decrease in the price of heroin in Europe between 1990 and 2009.”

And these shocking percentages:

“ … despite a greater than 600 percent increase in the US federal anti-drug budget since the early 1980s, the price of heroin in the US has decreased by approximately 80 percent during this period, and heroin purity has increased by more than 900 percent.”

Recall that that the Global Commission is comprised of the former presidents of Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Brazil, Chile and Switzerland, among others.

The Commission’s new HIV/AIDS report concludes:

“Any sober assessment of the impacts of the war on drugs would conclude that many national and international organizations tasked with reducing the drug problem have actually contributed to a worsening of community health and safety. This must change.”