Archive for the ‘War on drugs’ Category

Tilting at windbags — it’s AIDS conference time (19/07/10)

Illustration by Fernando Vicente This week, the Great and the Good of the AIDS industry gather in Vienna for the biennial AIDS circus. With delicious irony, the conference, held right next to the barracks of the UN’s Drug Warriors, will focus in part on getting more countries to do the one thing that really works […]

Oh Canada! Insite stays, but for how long? (19/01/10)

Great news from Vancouver: the city’s safe injecting facility, Insite, is allowed to continue saving lives. For now. It’s the second time that Insite has won a case brought by the right-wing rottweilers of prime minister Stephen Harper. This victory was in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. But Harper may decide to put more […]

A quiet revolution for HIV prevention: US lifts ban on funding needle exchanges (08/01/10)

For 20 years, American governments across the political spectrum have ignored a mountain of evidence showing that needle exchanges and other safe injecting programmes are the single most effective HIV prevention tool we have. But just before Christmas, with a minimum of fuss, Congress dropped the ban on federal funding for needle and syringe programmes. […]

Drug Warriors: blind or just innumerate? (08/11/09)

As promised, a note on the UK’s latest data on HIV among drug injectors. Some of the US’s battalions of Drug Warriors have been crowing that the new figures show a rise in infection rates among junkies in the UK: clear evidence that the nation’s policy of making sterile needles and injecting equipment available to […]

As one HIV ban ends, another morphs (03/11/09)

Yesterday the US finally dropped its absolutely senseless law forbidding people with HIV from visiting the Land of the Free. (While Saint Obama is getting patted on the back for ending the ban, he was actually signing off on something that George Bush put in motion last year). That’s unmitigated good news for people with […]

Heroin on prescription: for some, the facts are never enough (18/09/09)

It’s not just because I was in Vancouver last week that I have heroin on the brain. Less than a month after a Canadian team found that prescribing heroin to addicts works where other treatments have failed, scientists in the UK reported the same thing. That stacks more evidence in favour of heroin prescription on […]

Getting to the bottom of HIV’s silly season (28/07/09)

It’s usually safe to take time off in July to move house — in a previous existence in the newroom we used to call the European summer the “silly season”. In the weeks I’ve been painting walls, unpacking boxes and not blogging, we’ve had some HIV silliness, but some good sense too. The IAS conference […]

HIV surveillance, US style: don’t try this at home (14/04/09)

For a world-renowned centre of epidemiological excellence, the US CDC can do some pretty shonky work. This week, the second week of April, 2009, they have finally published some results from surveillance among drug injectors carried out more than three years ago. And the analysis is so simplistic that it tells us virtually nothing about […]

Whose war is it, anyway? (10/03/09)

The Colombian President says we’ve lost the war on drugs. So does his predecesor. And his Mexican counterpart. Not to mention Harvard economists. Oh, and the editors of The Economist. Is it conceivable that the United Nations and the US government, that have for so long dug their heels into the mud of prohibition as […]

High days and holidays — smoking ARVs (12/12/08)

Stories of kids smoking antiretroviral drugs to get high first surfaced in South Africa last spring. Picked up by the BBC last week, they are now burning through the WTF pages of the blogosphere. Should we give a damn? Interestingly, I can’t find anything anywhere from anyone who has actually nicked the pills off their […]

Prayers and yoga prevent HIV in Bhutan (13/09/08)

Bhutan is not exactly crumbling under the weight of HIV infections. Between 1993 and 2006, a total of 90 cases were reported. Each is dilligently listed by the Ministry of Health — age, sex, how they became infected, how their infection came to light, whether they are still alive (19 had died by August 2006). […]

Want help quitting your job? It’s a deal (03/09/08)

Earn good money but hate your job? The UK charity Switch can help you out. As long as you’re a drug dealer. Switch is a coalition of community groups based in the Western city of Bristol. The Guardian reports that the group was finding that a lot of dealers wanted out, but felt trapped because […]

Largely in New York: new HIV is young, black and gay (01/09/08)

New York likes to think of itself as ahead of the rest of the US on many fronts. It certainly is on the HIV front. In most of the world, we’ve got precious little idea how many people get infected with HIV each year. Generally, we report HIV prevalence — the number of people who […]

Dealing in health: do we dare? (07/07/08)

Still on the topic of sensible policies to prevent disease among drug injectors, I’d like to pass on the idea of Wisdom reader Pierce Wetter. Pointing out that blackmailing brothel owners delivered very high levels of condom use in Bangkok’s brothels, Pierce suggests we use the same technique for drug dealers. Enlist them to sell […]

UNDRUGS, moving in the right direction? (07/07/08)

Is HIV really about culture and migration and labour? You’d think so if you looked at the mandates of the 10 United Nations organisations that make up UNAIDS. I’ve always thought we only need two organisations involved: UNSEX and UNDRUGS. The first doesn’t exist, and the second (officially know and the United Nations Office on […]

Canadian government calls in the executioner (30/05/08)

I ended my last post on an optimistic note. I should have known better. Canada’s health minister is sharpening the guillotine, and hopes to chop down North America’s only supervised injecting site despite a court ruling that the execution would be unconstitutional. “In my opinion, supervised injection is not medicine; it does not heal the […]

Stay of execution for Canada’s life saving injection room (29/05/08)

Drug Warriors have been gloating about the imminent closure of North America’s only supervised injecting site for drug addicts. (“The injection site is expected to close next month,” reported one conservative group. “Congratulations to members who have worked so hard to keep the pressure on the powers to be to close down this madly insane […]

Can Canada save its safe injecting experiment from the politicians’ axe? (03/05/08)

Vancouver is the only city in North America that provides a safe place for addicts to shoot up in. The local government thinks it’s a good idea. The national government doesn’t. So they’re sticking their oar in to undermine the project, according to local researchers. “Scientists accuse Tories of ‘despicable’ interference”, yells a headline in […]

Pakistan rocks! (and makes me eat humble pie) (25/04/08)

As I flicked through the headlines of the wonderful Kaiser Foundation HIV reports, I saw this headline. Pakistan, U.N. Agency Launch Pilot Initiative To Improve HIV Control Efforts Among Women. I rolled my eyes. Another touchy-feely let’s-empower-women-through-microcredit-so-they-can-protect-themselves initiatives that will do precisely nothing to reduce new HIV infections. Ho hum. Then I read the story […]

Putting the screws on drugs in UK jails. (The screws are guilty) (11/04/08)

UK taxpayers fund effective HIV prevention programmes for drug users in other countries, but not at home. Perhaps that’s because UK jails are better organised than those in, say Kyrgyzstan, so there’s not that many drugs inside? Uh, no. UK prisoners fork out around 100 million quid a year for drugs, according to the former […]

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