Health Unit Signs The Vienna Declaration – Calls for Evidence-based Drug Policies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Perth County ― The Perth District Health Unit is encouraging policy makers to use evidence when making decisions about drug policies.

On May 16, 2012, the Perth Board of Health agreed to endorse The Vienna Declaration by becoming a signatory on the Vienna Declaration website. The Vienna Declaration is an international movement that is seeking to: “Improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies.”

The Vienna Declaration notes that international efforts to date, heavily focused on drug prohibition, have failed to stop substance misuse and have resulted in negative health and social consequences, such as a higher spread of HIV.

“Addictions are a medical issue,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health. “It’s important to recognize that drug use is a reality for some people and they need harm reduction measures, support and access to treatment.”

While drug use and drinking in Perth County are generally similar to the rest of Ontario, rates of alcohol, cannabis and crystal meth use continue to be of concern in southwestern Ontario.

The Vienna Declaration calls for a reorientation of drug policies that respect and protect human rights. It calls for redirecting resources: “Towards where they are needed most: implementing and evaluating evidence-based prevention, regulatory, treatment and harm reduction interventions.”

Following approval by the Perth Board of Health, the Health Unit has signed The Vienna Declaration and circulated a letter to the Drug Strategy Task Force and to all public health units in Ontario encouraging other organizations to likewise endorse the declaration.

To view the Vienna Declaration and the list of endorsements, visit: www.viennadeclaration.com.

More Information
For more information, call Health Line at 519-271-7600 ext 267 or toll-free at 1-877-271-7348 ext 267. Visit www.pdhu.on.ca and follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PDHealthUnit

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Media Contact: Rebecca Hill, Communications Manager
519-271-7600 ext 279 or email at rhill@pdhu.on.ca

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