How Decriminalizing Drugs Might Affect the Spread of HIV in Tijuana

Richard Branson and experts debate the losing war on drugs — and its victims — at UC San Diego event —

As the 1960s came to a close, Richard Nixon famously declared a “war on drugs.” They were “public enemy number one,” the president said. Their menace demanded a full-throated federal effort of interdiction, eradication and incarceration.

The goal: No more illegal drugs. Period.

The reality: The war still rages. There are now more illegal drugs produced and consumed than ever.

If the war on drugs were one of his businesses, said Sir Richard Branson, the renowned British magnate, philanthropist and activist, it would have been shut down within a year. “It hasn’t worked at all, ever, but governments continue to ignore the facts, creating untold misery. Drug use isn’t a criminal problem. It’s a health problem.”
Image

Branson, who has become a major voice in the global drug policy debate, visited UC San Diego last week to participate in a panel discussion on global drug decriminalization and Tijuana’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is fueled in part by widespread drug use, notably the sharing of needles to inject black tar heroin. … Read the Full Feature Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Steffanie Strathdee, PhD

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD

The UC San Diego Global Health Institute (GHI) was a co-sponsor of the event. GHI Director Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, was moderator and host of the event.

Dr. Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Medicine.

Steffanie Strathdee Receives National Award of Excellence in Mentorship from National Hispanic Science Network

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee. Image ©International AIDS Society/Marcus Rose/Workers’ Photos. Used with permission.

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, has received the 2013 National Award of Excellence in Mentorship from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse.

Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health at UC San Diego.

She accepted the award at the NHSN 13th International Conference in Bethesda, Maryland, October 9-11.

“I am deeply honored to be selected for this prestigious award,” Strathdee said. “Hispanics now represent the largest minority population in the U.S., but only about 3% of NIH-funded researchers are Hispanic. My goal is to try to bridge that gap.”

The National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse, established in 2001, teams with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to foster advances in Hispanic drug abuse research. Mentorship is a major component of its work.

Each year, the National Award of Excellence in Mentorship goes to an established research scientist who has made exceptional efforts to help young researchers succeed in peer-reviewed publications and/or grant applications in the area of Hispanic drug abuse.

Intervention Effort Cuts HIV Incidence Among Female Sex Workers

Three Division of Global Public Health faculty members are coauthors of the study described in the UCSD Newsroom story, “Intervention effort cuts HIV incidence among female sex workers.”

The Global Public Health researchers are Dr. José L. Burgos, Project Scientist, lead author; Steffanie A. Strathdee, PhD, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health; and Julia A. Gaebler, PhD, Assistant Professor.

Read the published study in PLoS One (free full text)

Needle Sharing May Play a Major Role in Transmission of Syphilis

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee and coworkers in the Division of Global Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry are the authors of a new research report featured in the UCSD story, “Needle Sharing May Play a Major Role in Transmission of Syphilis.”

BusinessWeek, U.S.News & World Report, and local media including KPBS and 10News have carried the story.

Steffanie A. Strathdee, Ph.D., is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health; Director of the Center for Migration and Health; and Director of the Global Health Initiative at UCSD.

Other coauthors in the Division of Global Public Health are Melanie L. A. Rusch, M.Sc., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine; and postdoctoral fellow Oralia Loza, Ph.D. Dr. Loza is now Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso.