Plenary Item 6. Implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International cooperation towards an Integrated and balanced strategy to counter the world drug problem

Associate Director of John Hopkins University for Aids Research (Video): The world has embraced the goal of eradicating aids. Globally 11.8 million people inject drugs of whom 1/8 are living with HIV. Among the many groups, people who inject drugs face the greatest risk of HIV. We reviewed the impact of drug policy on human health and we found policies not based on evidence have a harmful impact on health. limiting access to harm reduction services and incarceration hinder human health. the prevalence of HIV among people who inject drugs is higher in all countries studies, they account for 8% of new infections. HIV among people who use drugs is one of the easier ways to control, why are we seeing rising transmission? When people have good access to harm reduction services rates of HIV injections have reduced. Opioid substitution therapy is showed by studies to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by 54% but only 16% receive OST. People who use drugs are excluded from antiviral treatment for HIV. Less than 5% have access to treatment. Fear of arrest hinders accessing treatment. Lack of funding for services is a major challenge. There are major funding gaps. Incarceration is expensive and has failed. HIV services based on human rights save lives and serve as an entry point to treatment. It is clear people who use drugs will access treatment when it is easily accessible.

UNODC: The latest trends on drug use. Every year we try to inform the commission of trends of drug use. 250 million people have used drugs, prevalence remains stable. Treatment demand has changed. In Africa, demand for opioids, in the US demand for cannabis, in Asia for ATS, in Europe cannabis. Hepatitis C, more than 200,000 deaths. The burden is higher than for HIV. The latest trends: opioids in North America. They remain the most harmful drugs even if they are not the most common. Deaths are increasing in Europe. Cocaine trends show that the market is increasing in terms of supply and use. Amphetamines: biggest problem in Asia. NPS remains a challenge in terms of the number of substances on the market and their effects. This report was in response to CND resolution 60/1. Experts from 52 countries participated in the report.

UNODC drug prevention health branch: it is not an encouraging situation. Countries are not responding to our ARQ – less than one third are responding. The same picture is across the board, and there is little sign of improvement. Only 39% of people in need of treatment are recognised as being in need of treatment and then only 7% received the minimum adequate treatment exposure. For any other chronic disease this level of treatment would be a scandal. We are not responding enough to women addicted to drugs. It is a hidden addiction – women are invisible due to stigma and prejudice. Women affected by PTSD, panic and depression are at greater risk of addiction. We need to a comprehensive approach for harm reduction – not just needle exchanges for example – it needs to integrate many approaches in order to work. Health workers have negative attitudes towards addiction, and do not want to work in this field, some go as far to say that drug users deserve punishment! We have much work to do to combat this stigma.

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