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Spend less on drug enforcement and more on treating hepatitis C, say campaigners

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3428 (Published 29 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3428
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

Governments around the world are being called on to redirect resources away from the “war on drugs” and into public health schemes for preventing and treating hepatitis C infection.

In a report published on 30 May the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a panel of 22 political and cultural leaders, estimated that 10 million of the 16 million people who inject drugs around the world are infected with hepatitis C.1

Research has consistently shown that harsh drug laws, including imprisonment of drug users, forced drug users away from public health services and into hidden environments where the risk of infection with hepatitis C and HIV became markedly raised.

The report described the billions of dollars spent each year on arresting and punishing drug users as “a gross misallocation of limited resources.” Because of such policies, very few countries had reported significant declines in …

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