On Wednesday 5th October, European drug user activists from 10 countries (#1) met in Marseille to discuss the development of drug user organising. The meeting reviewed and discussed the interim findings of an audit of drug user organising in Europe. The meeting also took the important decision to form a European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD).
The meeting recognised that Europe has a long and proud tradition of both harm reduction and drug user organising. Drug user activists have contributed to this positive history as advocates, watchdogs and innovators. The positive benefits of this history in terms of harm reduction provision and the promotion of drug user rights needs to be defended in many parts of Europe and initiated in those areas where it is far from established. At the same time, EuroNPUD welcomes the introduction of such new harm reduction innovations, such as consumption rooms and heroin assisted treatment (HAT) in certain countries and commits to promoting these approaches across Europe in partnership with our harm reduction allies.
EuroNPUD notes that Europe is also home to a range of drug policy initiatives whose results are creating great excitement and interest. EuroNPUD will make drug law reform advocacy and campaigning a particular focus of its work over the next two years.
EuroNPUD is developing an online directory of drug user groups and we invite other European drug user groups to contribute to this living resource. We hope this will support better networking and understanding of the positive contribution of activist drug users in Europe. We call on other European drug user groups to endorse and join this exciting and important new initiative. We have also prioritised reaching out to the younger generation of people who use drugs to secure the future of our network.
We would like to thank the EU for funding this important initiative and commend our harm reduction partners EuroHRN for recognising the importance of the meaningful participation of people who use drugs and we look forward to continuing our collaboration together.
#1 Portugal, Spain, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Albania,
by Mat Southwell
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