Powerful new U.N. report


The Special Rapporteur on the right to health has underlined the distinction between drug use and drug dependence. Drug dependence is a chronic, relapsing disorder that should be medically treated using a biopsychosocial approach. Drug use is neither a medical condition nor does it necessarily lead to drug dependence. People who use drugs and people who are dependent on drugs possess the same right to health as everyone else, and those rights cannot be curtailed if the use of drugs constitutes a criminal offence […]

The Special Rapporteur has emphasized that health-care personnel have an obligation to provide treatment on a non-discriminatory basis and not to stigmatize or violate a patient’s human rights. […]

Individuals have sometimes been denied access to medical treatment on the grounds of their prior or current drug use, where evidence does not justify denial of treatment. Such denial has occurred on the rationale that a person’s drug use would make him or her unable to adhere to treatment. The Special Rapporteur notes that adherence to medical treatment is not necessarily lower among persons who use drugs, and should be assessed on an individual basis […]

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