The Global Commission on Drug Policy has issued a report warning world governments that the current international “war on drugs” is fueling the hepatitis C virus (HCV) pandemic, BBC reports. The commission, which consists of former presidents and other world leaders, estimates that 10 million of the 16 million people who inject drugs worldwide are living with hep C. It also finds that repressive drug law enforcement is driving the high HCV rates. The commission suggested that criminalizing drug use forces users away from public health services and that locking up injection drug users further perpetuates the pandemic. Health officials called for global governments to decriminalize drug use and instead employ harm reduction programs such as needle exchanges to halt the spread of the virus. The commission has previously linked the “failed” war on drugs with the spread of HIV.

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