Why we need an international network of drug user activists.

Users’ Voice editor Andria Efthimiou-Mordaunt giving it some volume

We are people from around the world who use drugs. We are people who have been marginalized and discriminated against; we have been killed, harmed unnecessarily, put in jail, depicted as evil, and stereotyped as dangerous and disposable.

It is now time to raise our voices as citizens, establish our rights and reclaim the right to be our own spokespersons striving for self-representation and self-empowerment:

  • To enable and empower people who use drugs legal or deemed illegal worldwide to survive, thrive and exert our voices as human beings to have meaningful input into all decisions that affect our own lives.
  • To promote a better understanding of the experiences of people who use illegal drugs, and particularly of the destructive impact of current drug policies affecting drug users, as well as our non-using fellow-citizens: this is an important element in the local, national, regional and international development of these social policies.
  • To use our own skills and knowledge to train and educate others, particularly our peers and any other fellow-citizens concerned with drugs in our communities.
  • To advocate for universal access to all the tools available to reduce the harm that people who use drugs face in their day-to-day lives, including, i) drug treatment, appropriate medical care for substance use, ii) regulated access to the pharmaceutical quality drugs we need ii) availability of safer consumption equipment, including syringes and pipes as well as iii) facilities for their safe disposal, iv) peer outreach and honest up-to-date information about drugs and all of their uses, including v) safe consumption facilities that are necessary for many of us, e.g. those who are homeless.
  • To establish our right to evidence-based and objective information about drugs, and how to protect ourselves against the potential negative impacts of drug use through universal access to equitable and comprehensive health and social services, safe, affordable, supportive housing and employment opportunities.
  • To provide support to established local, national, regional, and international networks of people living with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and other harm reduction groups, making sure that active drug users are included at every level of decision-making, and specifically that we are able to serve on the boards (of directors) of such organizations and be fairly reimbursed for our expenses, time and skills.
  • To challenge the national legislation and international conventions that currently disable most of us from living safe, secure and healthy lives.

Well aware of the potential challenges of building such a network, we strive:

  • For values which respect diversity and recognize each other’s different backgrounds, knowledge, skills and capabilities, and cultivate a safe and supportive environment within the network regardless of which drugs we use, or how we use them
  • To spread information about our work in order to support and encourage development of user organizations in communities/countries where there are no such organizations
  • To promote tolerance, cooperation and collaboration, fostering a culture of inclusion and active participation.
  • For Democratic principles and an organisational structure that promotes maximum participation in decision making,
  • For maximum inclusion with special focus to those who are disproportionately vulnerable to oppression on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, etc.
  • To ensure that people who use drugs are not incarcerated (and that those who are incarcerated) have an equal right to healthy and respectful conditions and treatment, including drug treatment and access to health-promoting supplies such as syringes and condoms and medical treatment or at least equal to that they would receive outside
  • To challenge execution and other inhuman treatment of people who use drugs worldwide

Ultimately, the most profound need to establish such a network arises from the fact that no group of oppressed people ever attained liberation without the involvement of those directly affected by this oppression. Through collective action, we will fight to change existing local, national, regional and international drug laws and formulate an evidence-based drug policy that respects people’s human rights and dignity instead of one fuelled on moralism, stereotypes and lies.

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6 Responses to “Why we need an international network of drug user activists.”

  1. James Morgan says:

    society has fucked me right up the ass for drug use since I started at 17, before which I was spastic, uneasy, unpredictable, and had severe mood swings. Marijuanna among many other criminalized drugs has sadly been discriminated against for lack of evidence and truthfully because society could care less about happiness of anyone else but themselves, in turn they are greedy, selfish, no-good human beings… It’s a sad sad sad sad world when money is the goal, and I wonder if I will live to see a better world, unlikely at this rate.

    • Andria says:

      James

      Thanks for writing in here

      I really believe we could be on the brink of some actual change in drug policy, so Please do hang in there..I know it is hard but that is why we have the Usersvoice and the John Mordaunt Trust in the first place.

      It would be good to speak with you one day. I’m quite happy to call you if you wish. Just say the word or ask for my phone number
      Have you managed to read much of the archive here?

      Solidarity and appreciation

      Andria E-Mordaunt

    • Users Voice says:

      Hey James
      How are U these days?

      Much has happened since U last wrote on our website including some of the corruption U referred to being exposed:-)) I got involved with the The OCCUPY Movement and they have spearheaded a significant amount of this change

      Enough is enough eh?!

      Join us??

      Whatever; do keep in touch

      In Solidarity
      Andria

  2. MARIE.WILSON says:

    WELL IVE INDULGED IN DRUGS SINCE I WAS 15 I WAS ABUSED MENTALLY.N PHYSOICALLY AS A CHILD BY AN ALCOHOLIC MOTHER I STARTED WITH A LSD THEN WEED THEN I WAS LUCKY ENUF TO LIVE THE RAVE SCENE AND DID I LOVE TO DANCE.
    NOW A GRANDMA AND MY 3 KIDS OPENLY TALK OVER ANY ISSUE OV DRUGS EVEN TO THE EXTENT OF MY SON TELLING ME IM TRYING EXTACY ON MY 16th
    I TOLD HIM USE IN SAFE COMPANY DRINK FLUID LIKE WATER NOT ALCOHOL AND IF HE TOOK.QUARTER AT A TIME HE WOULD BE FINE YOU CAN TAKE MORE LATER NOT ALL ONCE BEST THING IS COME HOME IF U DONT FEEL GOOD I WILL ASSIST YOU I BEING OK THANKFULLY HE HATED IT BUT HE COULD LIED ABOUT IT AND BE DEAD IN A DOORWAY HE WAS SAFE TO COME HOME WHERE I MADE HIM ENJOY IT WHEN HIS MATES COULDNT HANDLE IT I SAID UVE TOOK.IT EMBRACE IT LISTEN TO THE MUSIIC AND LET IT ALL GO I EVEN GOT UP AND DANCED TILL THEY FELT THE LOVE OF A DISCO BURGER. I NOW INDLDGE IN AMPHETAMINE TO STUDY OR BE CREATIVE MAKING SURE I SLEEP EAT AND REPLACE THE VITIMINS IVE USED MY ASSIGMENTS ARE GRADED TEN PRCENT BETTER THEN ON NORMAL HEAD JUST APPRECIATE THE DRUG YOU USE AND BEST ADVICE IS you control the drug dont let the drug rule
    WITCHEEPOO

    IRONICALLY IM STUDYNG DRUG AND ALCOHOL ADDICTION AND COUNSELLING AND ASTROLOGY N ALLS. WELL

  3. andria says:

    Hi there Marie
    EVERYONE
    I like your letter/blog here… I was the instigator of this website abouit ten years ago and since then a lot more drugs users around the world are coming out (like U!) and speaking honestly about their lives, kids, work and drugs use. I think this is a healthy development no!?

    I am now mother ta lovely little girl who is five and a quarter…! I have told her that I once had a bit of a problem with something called heroin and that she better not talk about it out there in the world much as it was illegal. She replies, Can I have my tea now Mummy?! That’s kids for ya

    When I began this website, our charity, the John Mordaunt Trust, had run out of hard cash and people who could raise the money to keep our Magazine hard copy, The Usersvoice (of course!) going so here we are in Cyberspace and that is OK… So many wonderful things are happening here

    The Arab Spring was enabled partially by the internet and the International OCCUPY movement and so many other excellent initiatives of human kind

    Drugs are a bit ephermeral to my life today. I take them but the central focus of my life today is the survival of my family. This is not an easy one as the two adults in this group are living with life-threatening illnesses – not Hepatitis or AIDS as it happens. Cirrhosis and MH issues not to mention out of control Asthma, and Osteo arthritis

    Thing is what is a drug? And why do we all make such a noice about it – them. If these drugs were legally regulated and controlled, they would be so much less compelling and interesting. Then we could free up some money to do honest treatment and education, not to mention excellent standard Blood Borne Disease(s) Prevention too,the very root case of the establishment of the John Mordaunt Trust

    John Mordaunt was a high level AIDS Activist and my late life partner who died from AIDS – that is septacaemia and pneumonia – back in 1995. I still miss him 17 and a half years later but I have a kid and she has a decent father

    We are blessed and we will live for as long as we poissibly can

    andria e-mordaunt xx

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