Public Health in Face of Drug Addiction and AIDS

  • C. Vetere
Conference paper


Public Health should represent the merging point between scientific knowledge of Medicine and Social Sciences and the National and Local Governments. The Chief Medical Officer should act as an health educator for Ministers and Politicians, because in face of health emergencies a negative attitude by part of decision-making people can provoke useless and dangerous measures. In the same time Public Health is deeply involved into Health Care problems and environmental hygiene which means a lot of administrative responsibilities and the risk of over-dependence from ritualistic measures often adopted in order to avoid criticism and the intervention of the Court.

Drug addiction with its moral and political connotations represents an important example of the prevalence of ethical or personal judgements on objective evaluation of the results of scientific research. Methadone can be signaled as the proof of the consequences of such a situation: even when it is allowed restrictions are so many and attitude so punitive that it would be like interrupt insulin to a diabetic patient who eats too many sweets! Even the prevention of overdose through the larger distribution of Naloxone vials is not actively encouraged by the same authorities who correctly suggest to insulin treated diabetic to bring some sugar lumps. Aids provoked the coming out of all contradictions, discriminations, fears, quarantine tradition prevailing on a wide preventive action. As a matter of facts a certain amount of HIV infections, of TBC spreading, of endocarditis from Candida can be attributed to the lack of medical treatment of drug addicts. Only in the last month harm reduction philosophy has been introduced as a compromise in front a spreading epidemics, but in May 1989 the Minister of Health of Italy voted against a more liberal restriction to the syringes sale; reasons were political and ideological! Small pox has been eradicated simply because rational principle of interruption of the contagion chain in the endemic countries succeeded into W.H.O.’s Assembly against the old-fashioned and bureaucratic trend to rely upon passive measures such as certifications, stamps, evictions. We should wish that similar trend shall prevail in the international effort for AIDS and drug addictions containment.


Drug Addiction Harm Reduction Drug Addict Public Health Officer Chief Medical Officer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Vetere
    • 1
  1. 1.UNICRIRomeItaly

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