Toronto council endorses harm-reduction strategy on drugs

Toronto has become the first city in the world to endorse the Vienna Declaration, advocating a harm-reduction strategy to deal with drugs rather than law enforcement.

The declaration, which was drafted by an international team of experts on drugs, HIV and AIDS, was unveiled last month at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna. Toronto city council voted 33-7 to endorse the declaration.

That doesn't mean Toronto will be getting a safe injection site any time soon, however. But the city will get behind distributing condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission, safe crack kits and the needle exchange program.

"The key aspect of the declaration is that far too much money has gone solely into law enforcement, the war on drugs, and it's failed," said Councillor Kyle Rae. "We're saying stop the war and start doing a comprehensive approach. We'll be able to save lives, stop the spread of HIV and hepatitis C and give us a safer society."

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