U.N. Member States Agree to Drug Control Policy
United Nations member states on Thursday agreed to a 10-year renewal of their anti-drug policy amid criticism that the strategy has contributed to the spread of HIV, Reuters reports. European Union delegates to the United Nations Commission for Narcotic Drugs convention expressed frustration about a lack of harm-reduction measures that aim to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other bloodborne diseases in policy, according to Reuters. Critics said the lack of harm-reduction measures, such as needle-exchange programs, has helped fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS and allowed drug cartels to flourish, Reuters reports.
Delegates at the conference noted an "alarming" increase in HIV among injection drug users, Reuters reports. German Ambassador Ruediger Luedeking at the conference argued that harm-reduction intends to address health risks associated with injection drug use and does not aim to replace drug-control efforts. Countries opposed to harm reduction -- which include China, Italy, Japan, Russia and the U.S. -- have said such efforts legitimize injection drug use and undermine law enforcement. According to Reuters, harm-reduction is common in Western countries and Latin America but is prohibited in Russia, which has been "hard-hit" by an HIV epidemic among IDUs (Heinrich, Reuters, 3/12).