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II. Obligations arising from human rights standards

1.2 Drug dependence treatment

The right to health as applied to drug policy includes access to evidence-based drug dependence treatment on a voluntary basis.

In accordance with their right to health obligations, States should:

i. Ensure the availability and accessibility of drug treatment services that are acceptable, delivered in a scientifically sound and medically appropriate manner, and of good quality (that is, with a strong evidence base and independent oversight). This means that such services should also be adequately funded; appropriate for particular vulnerable or marginalised groups; compliant with fundamental rights (such as to privacy, bodily integrity, due process, and freedom from arbitrary detention), and respectful of human dignity.

ii. Ensure that voluntary, informed consent is a precondition for any medical treatment or preventive or diagnostic intervention and that drug use or dependence alone are not grounds to deprive someone of the right to withhold consent.

iii. Ensure that non-compliance with programme rules, such as failed drug tests, do not lead to automatic involuntary discharge or temporary expulsion as a disciplinary measure.

iv. Safeguard the confidentiality of all identifying information regarding an individual’s involvement in drug-related health care to ensure that it is used solely for the purpose of advancing the health of that person.

Where compulsory drug detention centres exist, States:

v. Should take immediate measures to close such centres, release people detained in such centres, and replace such facilities with voluntary, evidence-based care and support in the community.

vi. Shall in all circumstances guard against the arbitrary detention of people who use drugs.

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