Canadian doctor links AIDS to the war on drugs
A Canadian doctor wants to end the war on drugs in order to slow the spread of aids.
"The war on drugs can never be won. It is not protecting us and it is creating all sorts of harm," said lead researcher at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Dr Evan Wood.
He spoke on the Richard Brown Show about how drug users are forced to underground sources which actually heightens their risk of getting HIV and lessens their chances of getting help.
He also said that once in prison, chances increase again that someone will contract the virus.
He said it is a burden on the health system and an expense for the average canadian citizen.
"On average each case of HIV infection costs the canadian tax payer about $500,000," he said.
"So to provide addictions treatment at a few thousand dollars a year to prevent an HIV infection is extremely cost effective."
It also costs around $100,000 per year to keep a person in prison.
Wood said that other countries have proved that treating drug addictions is not only more cost effective than jail, it also works better.
"They have a decreased drug problem... less HIV and certainly the tax payer is off the hook of a program that is just astronomically expensive and harmful," Wood said.
Early intervention makes it more likely that people will turn their lives around he said. Preventative matters avoid people becoming a burden on the health and judicial systems later.
"The first thing I would advocate is for expanding and modernizing our addictions treatment system," he said.
He said the current system is a huge waste of time and energy.
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