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NCJ Number: 203310 Find in a Library
Title: Supervised Injection Facilities and International Law
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:33  Issue:3  Dated:Summer 2003  Pages:539-578
Author(s): Ian Malkin; Richard Elliott; Rowan McRae
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 40
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article considers the international legal implications of establishing supervised injection facilities (SIF's) where intravenous drug users can be protected from the harms associated with risky, health-endangering drug-injection practices.
Abstract: As a result of unsafe injecting practices, injection drug users face serious health risks, including fatal and near-fatal overdoses and the contraction of blood-borne diseases, notably HIV and hepatitis C. As a public health strategy, the prohibitionist model of criminal sanctions against drug users has failed to reduce the health harm caused to drug users by their various drug-related behaviors. This article is based in the premise that a multifaceted approach based on the principle of harm reduction is required to deal effectively with the health and associated social problems linked to injection drug use. The harm-reduction model tolerates but does not condone drug use and recognizes that abstinence from drug use and abuse is not a realistic expectation or goal for some drug users. SIF's are one important component of a harm-reduction approach. SIF's provide drug users with a safe environment in which drugs can be injected with clean equipment under the supervision of medically trained personnel. Drugs are not provided at these facilities nor does the staff assist in injecting the drugs. The authors argue that implementing trials of SIF's is an appropriate measure for states to take pursuant to their international legal obligations to assist citizens in attaining the highest possible standard of health. It argues that international drug control treaties do not prevent such measures, as is commonly claimed by opponents of SIF's. Successful trials of SIF's in Europe and Australia should be replicated elsewhere in the world in accordance with states/ international obligations. 95 references
Main Term(s): Drug Policy
Index Term(s): AIDS/HIV prevention; Facility conditions; Healthcare; International agreements; International drug law enforcement; Needle/syringe exchange programs
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