Drug demand reduction programs must be integrated into a comprehensive strategy aiming at preventing drug misuse, facilitating access to counseling, to treatment of dependence, and to rehabilitation; and establishing effective measures to reduce the adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse. The continuous and even rising spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases (e.g., hepatitis B and C) among injecting drug users is alarming. Although, in many countries the prevalence of HIV infections is decreasing due to the implementation of effective harm reduction measures, such as syringe exchange and opiate substitution treatment (OST), in other countries infections are on the rise. The lessons learnt indicate that only a comprehensive, evidence-based approach in prevention, treatment, care, and support is promising in combating the devastating effects of drug dependence.
|Ingo Ilja Michels|