Published May, 2017
HIV and the criminalisation of drug use among people who inject drugs: a systematic review, Kara DeBeck et al, Lancet (2017)
An estimated 13% of all people who inject drugs (PWID) are living with HIV. PWID are less likely to know their status than other groups and also face unequal access to HIV treatment and prevention. Researchers conclude that the criminalization of drug use has a negative effect on HIV prevention and treatment.
The conclusions resulted from a comprehensive review of published studies on the relationship between the criminalization of drug use and HIV prevention and treatment-related outcomes. Of 106 studies reviewed, 80% suggested that drug criminalization has a negative effect on HIV prevention and treatment. The authors found that various aspects of criminalization—including incarceration, street-level policing, drug paraphernalia laws and restrictions, etc.—negatively affect the health of PWID. Specifically, criminalization was associated with decreased availability of safe injection equipment, increased syringe sharing, and increased burden of HIV among PWID.
The findings support the need for public health strategies to address the harms of drug use rather than the punitive approach of criminalization.
Copyright Information: CHLP encourages the broad use and sharing of resources. Please credit CHLP when using these materials or their content. and do not alter, adapt or present as your work without prior permission from CHLP.
Legal Disclaimer: CHLP makes an effort to ensure legal information is correct and current, but the law is regularly changing, and the accuracy of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. The legal information in a given resource may not be applicable to all situations and is not—and should not be relied upon—as a substitute for legal advice.