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2023 Global Day of Action: Reclaiming people power for sustainable alternatives to the ‘war on drugs’

For over a decade, the Support. Don’t Punish campaign has resourced a global, decentralised network of change-makers in drug policy reform and harm reduction. We do this not to wait for the proverbial ‘window of opportunity’ to appear, but to create the conditions to push it wide open!

Ahead of the next Global Day of Action (26 June 2023), let us once more organise in transnational solidarity to reclaim power and rights for our communities, nurture our growing movement, and demand accountability and redress. Together, we are building sustainable alternatives to the ‘war on drugs’! 

Submission period: 31 March – 28 April 2023 (Support don’t Punish!, UK, März 2023)


Australien. My Choice – the importance of choice in drug treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT). What works for one person, may not work for another. The My Choice project highlights the importance of personal choice in drug treatment and shares the diverse experiences of people from around Australia. (Arud Centres for Addiction Medicine, Zurich/Switzerland and Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), Australien, Februar 2023)


Europa. Time for a new European approach on drug policy say people who use drugs 

EuroNPUD was shocked to see the outdated and off-policy statements of EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and Annelies Verlinden Belgium's Minister for the Interior during a visit to Antwerp Docks blaming people who use drugs for acts of violence committed by organised crime, and committing the European Commission to achieving an ‘addiction-free’ society.  It is extremely unfortunate that EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johanson is not only using such stigmatizing language but also promoting the failed and outdated vision of a drug-free world. (Statement from the European Network of People who Use Drugs – EuroNPUD, 14.02.2023)


Russland. "Hat and Bayan. War" special issue - ШЛЯПА И БАЯН. СПЕЦВЫПУСК ВОЙНА

The website of the newspaper that you see was created by independent activists and activists with their own money. They do not belong to any political movement, party, trade union or anything else. Wanted - done. Yes, it happens. (shlyapaibayan.com, Russland, russisch und englisch, 2022/2023


Russland. Shlyapa I Bayan: 10 Years of Publishing Underground Drug News in Russia

Almost 10 years ago, the first issue of the newspaper "Hat and Bayan" was published. This newspaper, which literally became the successor to the magazine "The Brain", was published by people who use drugs, for people who use drugs - nothing like this had existed before.

The first editions had been issued in very modest numbers, but it quickly gained notoriety among readers, as it was distributed by hand by harm reduction activists, health workers and other interested people. People were hooked by the fact that this is not just another brochure, but a real publication about the life of people who use drugs, where you could find legal advice, useful articles about substances and harm reduction, as well as personal and creative stories of its contributors. Without the active participation of people who use drugs, there would be no such sections like the "Voices of the streets", "Rules of life" and "Poems".

Throughout this time, the newspaper persisted not because of, but despite self-censorship, a repressive drug policy system, social stigma and many other barriers. For the past couple of years, each issue felt like it could have been the last. This is due in particular to Russia's policy towards drugs, and everything and everyone connected with them.


After a long break, on December 31, 2022, a special issue of Hat and Bayan, “War”, came out. It begins with the following words from their Editor-in-Chief:

“February 24, 2022 turned the lives of many people, including activists and activists, authors and authors, and the editor of the newspaper. Someone left Russia, someone plunged into a permanent depression, someone died from an overdose - everyone is different. But the war became the strongest experience in our lives, encroaching on our values ​​and worldview, deprived us of strength and hope. We tried to understand how in the 21st century it became possible to attack a neighbouring country, justify it with mythical Nazism, while receiving super profits from the sale of gas to Europe and striving to revive the chimera of the ‘Russian world’.” (Talking Drugs, UK, 16.02.2023)


12-step experiences among people taking opioid use disorder medications

12-step mutual-help organizations are accessible and effective recovery support services. At the same time, buprenorphine and methadone, viewed as the “Gold Standard” for treating opioid use disorder, are the most effective tools for reducing opioid use and opioid-related overdose mortality. Some have suggested these types of interventions cannot mix but many patients use both. This study provides insights into how people taking these medications experience 12-step groups and documents strategies to support their engagement. (Recovery Research Institute, USA, 15.09.2022)


INPUD. Universal Periodic Review (UPR): How People who Use Drugs can Engage and Impact State Reviews

(International Network of People who Use Drugs, UK, September 2022)


USA. TAG – Treatment Action Group celebrates 30th anniversary

TAG was formed thirty years ago in January 1992 by a group of HIV activists from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP)/New York and its Treatment and Data Committee. 

TAG’s cofounders — Barbara Hughes, Garance Franke-Ruta, Gregg Gonsalves, Peter Staley and Mark Harrington among them — believed it was essential to form a community organization with a full-time focus on speeding up AIDS research, advocating for increased funding, and ensuring that people with HIV and at risk for it had access to and information about treatments that could save their lives. 

In those dark days at the height of the AIDS crisis, few could have imagined just how much TAG would help to revolutionize the field. In its early years, TAG pushed to overhaul clinical trials to produce quicker and more reliable answers about whether new drugs and combinations actually worked. By 1996, that activism led to the breakthrough discovery that combination HIV treatment could reduce viral load to undetectable levels, protecting health and prolonging life. (TAG, USA, Juni 2022)


The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL)

The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) is the Australian national peak organisation  focused on advancing the health and human rights of people with living or lived experience of drug use. Representing state and territory peer-based organisations, AIVL’s overall focus is to ensure that the ‘voice’ of people who use drugs is heard at a national level.


INPUD. Surviving and Thriving: Lessons in Successful Advocacy from Drug User-Led Networks

Case Studies

South Africa Network of People Who Use Drugs: “I wish that everyone can have it” – Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre, Durban, South Africa 

Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs: Gains in OAT Access in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Peers as Experts 

Urban Survivors’ Union (United States) NarcoFeminist Story Sharing: Developing Alternative Narratives, Producing New Knowledge, and Ensuring More Responsive Advocacy 

Indian Drug Users’ Forum Budget Advocacy: Ten million dollars for key populations


Kanada. DULF – Drug Users‘ Liberation Front


Hear Us, See Us, Respect Us: Respecting the Expertise of People who Use Drugs (3.0). 

Touesnard, Natasha, Patten, San, McCrindle, Jenn, Nurse, MIchael, Vanderschaeghe, Shay, Noel, Wyatt, Edward, Joshua, & Blanchet- Gagnon, Marie-Anik. (2021). 

Zenodo. doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5514066


Kanada. Drug criminalization causing overdose epidemic: lawsuit

The Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs is suing Ottawa, saying laws criminalizing the drugs behind the overdose crisis are unconstitutional.

The suit says criminalization of drugs has created fear among drug users and resulted in stigmatization by family, peers, police, doctors, social services and others. (Times Colonist, Kanada, 10.09.2021)


Irland. Our life, our voice, our say: applying a public sector equality and human rights duty approach to the human rights and equality issues identified by service users of opioid treatment services. 

Community Action Network. (2018), Dublin: Community Action Network. 


USA. The Methadone Manifesto: A Powerful Blow Against the Clinic System

The Methadone Manifesto is a brilliant, badass, long-overdue gut punch to the antiquated US methadone clinic system. Written by members of the Urban Survivors Union’s methadone advocacy and reform team, composed of current and former methadone patients and allies, it centers the voices of methadone users. For anyone unfamiliar with what happens inside clinics, this document will be eye-opening and enraging. (Filter, USA, 12.05.2021)


USA. The Methadone Manifesto

Call to Action

While methadone is the most effective treatment legally available for those diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) it is the most stigmatized and the most heavily regulated. Methadone significantly reduces the risk of overdose, HIV and HCV infection, and is the only safe supply available to people who use drugs (PWUD) in the United States. Over 1.6 million people meet the criteria for OUD in the U.S. and less than a quarter receive methadone treatment. Even during an adulterant and overdose crisis combined with a COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to experience barriers which keep PWUD from accessing treatment. We are traumatized as we try and access treatment because many people believe we are simply substituting one drug for another. This results in shame and stigma in practices and in the recovery community. We are watching our loved ones die and our community decimated. Our trauma demands this collaborative living document detail the culture of cruelty that continues to shame, stigmatize, and kill. (USU – Urban Survivors Union, April 2021)


We're in this together - All about treatment for opioid dependence from people who have lived it - Client guide

(European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD), 30.01.2021)


Solid Exceed: Social work and strengthening NGOs in development cooperation to treat drug addiction.

A jointly developed research program on the influence of social work on the prevention and treatment of drug addiction with the main focus on role of NGOs. (The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Institut für Suchtforschung (ISFF) der Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Excellence Centers for Exchange and Development) and
the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik)


"It's an emotional roller coaster… But sometimes it's fucking awesome": Meaning and motivation of work for peers in overdose response environments in British Columbia. 

Pauly BB, Mamdani Z, Mesley L, McKenzie S, Cameron F, Edwards D, Howell A, Knott M, Scott T, Seguin R, Greer AM, Buxton JA. 

Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Nov 9;88:103015. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.103015. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33176249.


1st November 2020: International Drug Users’ Day 

Today is International Drug Users’ Day, where the global community of people who use drugs comes together to celebrate our history and affirm our rights. Twelve years ago today INPUD was formally launched on International Drug Users’ Day by drug user rights activists seeking to create an international platform where members of our community could confidently and proudly advocate for the health and human rights of people who use drugs globally. Every year since, we have marked this day with a celebration of our diverse, vibrant communities’ accomplishments, while also acknowledging our work is more critical than ever. (INPUD - The International Network of People who Use Drugs, 01.11.2020)


Kanada. Opioids - A Survivors-Guide

It can be a painful ride getting back to the place where we once were. But it’s possible. All of the people who have written this are now in a place where our lives are in calmer seas, so we created this handbook to share the various ways in which we have found a safe haven. (BC Centre on Substance Use, Kanada, Mai 2019)


Kanada. Crackdown: The drug war, covered by drug users as war correspondents.

The ongoing overdose crisis is an unprecedented public health emergency. Thousands are dying while activists and researchers call for urgent change. Government isn’t doing enough to address the crisis, and the media is letting them get away with it. So, we’re making our own media.

CRACKDOWN is a new, monthly podcast about drugs, drug policy and the drug war led by drug user activists and supported by research. Each episode will tell the story of a community fighting for their lives. It’s also about solutions, justice for those we have lost, and saving lives. (crackdownpod.com, Kanada, 2020)


USA. Treatment Action Group - Research in Action Awards

We’re thrilled to welcome you to join us at our annual, and first ever virtual, Research in Action Awards on Thursday, November 19, 2020. At this time of great turmoil and when activism to end infectious disease is more vital than ever, it’s so important to gather virtually to celebrate life, commemorate those we’ve lost, and recognize champions of progress and justice.

HONORING: Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Sharon Stone, Wakefield


Taking Back What's Ours! A documented history of the movement of people who use drugs

From July through September 2020, as part of HIV2020 Online, INPUD and Rights Reporter Foundation released an original ten-part film series - Taking Back What's Ours! An oral history of the movement of people who use drugs - featuring the stories, histories and reflections of drug user advocates around the world. (DRUG REPORTER, UNGARN, 21.09.2020)


NA – Narcotics Anonymous – deutschsprachige Region


Taking back what's ours: Episode 9. Russia. Georgia and Ukraine

In today’s episode of the oral history of the movement of people who use drugs, we travel to three Eastern-European countries, where activists effectively fight very restrictive drug policies. (Drug Reporter, Ungarn, 31.08.2020)


TAKING BACK WHAT’S OURS! – Episode 6. Australia and New Zealand

In this episode of the oral history of the movement of people who use drugs, we learn about the successes and challanges in Australia, from four veterans of the user movement. The history of the movement of people who use drugs in Australia is a long and rich one. It is one of the few countries that has funded user organisations for over 30 years now. (DrugReporter, Ungarn, 10.08.2020)

TAKING BACK WHAT’S OURS! – Episode 6. Australia and New Zealand

Süd-Afrika. TAKING BACK WHAT’S OURS! – Episode 4. South Africa

Drugreporter and INPUD present the fourth episode of an oral history of the movement of people who use drugs. This time we discover the vibrant user movement in South Africa. (Drug Reporter und INPUD, 27.07.2020, Video, 24:54)


USA. The cycle of prison and addiction proves the war on drugs is a tragic, costly mistake

(…) Mothers across the cultural spectrum mourn the loss of their children to an overarching and punitive criminal justice system and incarceration, but dramatically more so in Black communities, where it has become infuriatingly normalized to have a father in prison. African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites.

My two sons struggled for decades with addiction to heroin, although they were born to white privilege. My older son was arrested for possession of marijuana when he was 20 years old, and spent 11 years cycling in and out of prison for nonviolent drug offenses and relapse. He is a survivor of both incarceration and accidental overdose. My younger son was also damaged by criminal justice involvement, which created significant roadblocks to recovery. Both were stigmatizUSA. The cycle of prison and addiction proves the war on drugs is a tragic, costly mistakeed and criminalized, and our family struggled with societal shame, mounting financial pressures and emotional pain. (Gretchen Burns Bergman, co-founder and executive director of 501(c)(3) nonprofit A New PATH and lead organizer of Moms United to End the War on Drugs, The Kansas City Star, USA, 15.97.2020


TAKING BACK WHAT’S OURS! – Episode 3. Germany, Denmark and Norway

Drugreporter and INPUD present the third piece of an oral history of the movement of people who use drugs. This episode is about the achievement of drug user groups in Germany, Denmark and Norway. (Drug Reporter, Ungarn, und INPUD – International Network of People who use Drugs, 20.022020)