A report from The Lancet calls for a new international approach to drug use, using evidence-based policies which adapt faster and respond more humanely and effectively to new drugs and their changing availability and patterns of use.
The five-paper series reviews the global evidence on opioids, cannabis, stimulants and psychoactive substances, analysing patterns of use, related harms and interventions and estimating the benefits of opioid agonist therapy and the growing health impact of stimulant use.
"Globalisation and developments in information technology have transformed drug availability and use, and professional and public policy discourse need to adapt to these new challenges," says one of the authors of the report, Professor Louisa Degenhardt, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, Australia.
"Meaningful engagement with people who use drugs is essential to effective prevention, treatment, and harm reduction. Underlying the negative attitudes faced by people who use drugs are moral judgments that people who use drugs are undeserving of humane treatment and that their human rights can be justifiably violated. Confronting these false claims is a social and moral imperative," she said.
The report was presented at the Lisbon Addictions meeting in Lisbon, Portugal last week.