This is a big step. Public health workers from all over the world are denouncing the "War on Drugs" as part of the problem, not at all a solution.
Unfortunately, hardly anyone in authority is listening. In a candid New York Times commentary on the declaration, Donald G. McNeil Jr. lamented:
Outside of Africa, one third of AIDS infections are thought to come from injection drug use. Though the U.S. contributes the bulk of world AIDS funds, our public health people would rather talk about most anything in preference to drug war abatement. McNeil points out one honorable exception:
These are pretty moderate sentiments about the "War on Drugs," but I suspect the reality-based community better get prepared to rally to Dr. Volkow's back.
Any doubters should take a look at a recent New York Times article about the Brownsville neighborhood where 14000 residents get stopped and frisked by rookie white cops making quota over and over again usually without any arrests -- and where residents express frustration in equal measure about violent thugs and the police.
Alexander writes that civil rights advocates (her own background) may someday "be embarrassed" about their failure to leap into the fight against the way the Drug War enforces white supremacy. It would be great to see an alliance of the public health scientists and the civil rights community. They are naming the same harm.
Thanks to Daniel De Groot at Open Left for pointing to the Vienna Declaration.