“The war on drugs has failed in its original purpose of reducing drug use,” Kazatchkine said. “Not only has it failed in that objective, but it is harmful in several respects.” Drugs have become cheaper and more widely available, and new synthetic drugs are coming onto the market every year.
Chris Beyrer of Johns Hopkins nicely summed up the message from both sessions: “It’s pretty clear that the war on drugs is unwinnable, the war on drugs users is terrible and also unwinnable, but the war on HIV, HCV, and TB can be won with evidence-based policy,” he said.
If drugs are legalised, not only do we remove the street dealer and make them cleaner, we redefine the user as a patient and not a criminal. ‘HIV’ and AIDS will decrease because of a proper framework of care, not because clean needles prevent transmission of some phantom spectre.