It seems climatologists aren't the only ones who can play the scientific consensus game, HIV/AIDS researchers have decided to make a go of the whole "using overwhelming empirical research and facts to change stupid policies" thing. The International AIDS Conference was just held this week in Vienna and released as their official declaration a direct statement calling for decriminalizing drug users, ending mandatory drug treatment and implementation of science-based harm reduction strategies with regard to drugs in service of better HIV prevention policy.
We, the undersigned, call on governments and international organisations, including the United Nations, to:
* Undertake a transparent review of the effectiveness of current drug policies.
* Implement and evaluate a science-based public health approach to address the individual and community harms stemming from illicit drug use.
* Decriminalise drug users, scale up evidence-based drug dependence treatment options and abolish ineffective compulsory drug treatment centres that violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.26
* Unequivocally endorse and scale up funding for the implementation of the comprehensive package of HIV interventions spelled out in the WHO, UNODC and UNAIDS Target Setting Guide.27
* Meaningfully involve members of the affected community in developing, monitoring and implementing services and policies that affect their lives.
We further call upon the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to urgently implement measures to ensure that the United Nations system-including the International Narcotics Control Board-speaks with one voice to support the decriminalisation of drug users and the implementation of evidence-based approaches to drug control.28
They've already stacked up what to my lay eyes seems like an impressive stack of Nobel laureates and respected organizations endorsing the statement.
I've written a couple times about Canada's small island of drug policy sanity, the Vancouver safe injection site, which has defied the odds and survived 4 years with a government that despises it. Hopefully real progress can be made on this, with an influential medical community joining the fight Insite won't be alone in North America.
Joking comparison to the climatologists aside, I hope they do better than the climate types have done at actually affecting policy. It will be useful to have a second active scientific/political movement to compare results and hopefully learn from one another.