Worldwide, women who use drugs are vastly underserved within health and social services and programmes. National and international research, services, guidelines, and training programmes are either gender-neutral or male-focused. As harm reduction services are primarily tailored to men, women who use drugs often find their specific needs being unacknowledged and unaddressed, leading to non gender-responsive harm reduction services.
The On the A-Gender: Community Monitoring Tool for Gender-Responsive Harm Reduction Services for Women who use Drugs aims to be a resource for community advocates to begin documenting, evidencing, and addressing this state of play. By doing so, community advocates can begin to identify areas and locales where gender-responsive services are severely lacking or identify services and programmes that can provide examples of good practice and be scaled up. The tool acknowledges the diversity and intersectionality of women who use drugs — including sex workers, lesbian and transwomen.
This tool has been developed by the International Network of People who use Drugs (INPUD) and the International Network of Women who use Drugs (INWUD), in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) HIV/AIDS Section and Koalisi Satu Hati , a community advocacy group in Indonesia. It is based on the Policy Brief: Women who inject Drugs: Addressing Specific Needs (UNODC, UNWomen, WHO, INPUD, 2014) and its companion guidelines Addressing the specific needs of women who inject drugs: Practical guide for service providers on gender-responsive HIV services (UNODC, INPUD, 2016).
The 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is in the books, and there is a lot to report on from the week that is of interest to the global community of people who use drugs. This summary is intended to be an overview of the major developments from the week and highlights the involvement of our community in the session. For more detailed transcripts of everything that occurred, make sure to visit the CND Blog.
Representation of PWUD
The United Nations can be a very inaccessible place for civil society, and even more so for people from our highly stigmatized community. Despite these limitations, we were proud to have had a strong presence at CND this year. Nearly twenty representatives from EuroNPUD, ENPUD, AfricaNPUD, SANPUD, TANPUD, INWUD, and LANPUD were present during this year’s CND, as well as three members of INPUD’s secretariat. Additionally, members of the Youth RISE network joined our capacity building event before CND and our meeting with the UNODC at the end of the week, bringing a much-needed youth perspective to our advocacy efforts and strategy
Pre-CND Drug User Capacity Building Training
This page is a hub for resources, guidelines, information and news for people who use drugs during the COVID-19 ("coronavirus") pandemic. We will be updating this page with more relevant links as we become aware of them. Please share, disseminate, and alter the information here as needed to fit the needs of your community. If you have information which you believe is crucial to share here, especially in multiple languages, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For resources directed at harm reduction service providers, please see our other page here.
In collaboration with the European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD) we have also developed a leaflet with the most important tips for people who use drugs, which can also be customized to include national or local information on the availability of harm reduction services. Download the leaflet in English here - translations into other languages are in the works.
Comprehensive Harm Reduction Tips for People who Use Drugs
The guidelines below were developed by Russell Newcombe and Cheryl White (of 3D Research: email@example.com) to inform the global community of people who use drugs on important harm reduction tips to practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to our colleagues over at Talking Drugs and Drug Policy Network South East Europe these tips are also available in the following languages:
Members of national and regional networks of people who use drugs are in Vienna this week along with INPUD for the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Each morning we will update this blog post with summaries of our observations from the previous day, so check back here often for updates.
For an overview of CND, check out the resources put together by the International Drug Policy Consortium.
Day One: 2 March 2020
Day one was eventful as there were several discussions and events which are of interest to the global drug using community. At this year’s CND one of the most anticipated discussion items was the World Health Organization’s recommendation to reschedule cannabis from Schedule IV, the most restrictive, to Schedule I, the least restrictive. Unfortunately, it appears the vote to reschedule will be postponed until December by member states. This is disappointing as the vote has already been delayed once, and ultimately gives member states who oppose rescheduling more time to strategize their response.
The new Executive Directors of the UNODC, Ghada Fathi Waly of Egypt, made her first highly anticipated address during the plenary. Ms. Waly is the first women to service in the position and has over thirty years of experience working in sustainable development. However, the consensus among reformers is that her speech was disappointing as she made no mention of harm reduction or the UN common position on drugs, which mentions decriminalization.
(This press release was originally published by Harm Reduction International. The full open letter is attached to the end of this article.)
Harm Reduction International, the International Drug Policy Consortium and the International Network of People Who Use Drugs published open letters today calling on the United Nations’ major human rights and drug control bodies to take all necessary actions to prevent the executions of two individuals convicted of drug trafficking in Bahrain. They were joined by 137 groups from 55 countries, including the International Commission of Jurists and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
On 28 January 2020, Bahrain’s highest court upheld the death sentences of two Bahraini men convicted of drug trafficking and smuggling, who are now believed to be at imminent risk of execution. In July 2019, Bahrain executed three men who were sentenced in flawed proceedings, drawing widespread international condemnation.
Civil society groups are seeking an urgent response from the newly appointed Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ms. Ghada Fathi Waly, on her first day in the office. They are also seeking responses from the President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Mr. Cornelis de Joncheere and from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet.
Ms. Giada Girelli, human rights analyst at Harm Reduction International, states “The death penalty does nothing to prevent drug trafficking; in fact, it makes international cooperation impossible. Most states have now understood this. Rather than moving towards the extreme fringe of the international community, Bahrain should re-instate the moratorium on executions in place until 2017.”