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Media alert: “Drug User Activists Unite at International Congress”

  1. hardcoreharmreducer
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [/FONT]


    “[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Drug User Activists Unite at International Congress”[/FONT]​


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Primary Contacts: [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Ann Livingston, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, BC Canada. VANDU Office: +1-604-683-6061. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]annlive@direct.ca [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Stijn Goossens, STAD/Breakline Antwerpen Belgium. Mobile: +32-479-98-2271. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]hardcoreharmreducer@yahoo.com[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Andria Efthimiou, John Mordant Trust. London UK. Mobile: +44-784-143-3187. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]andria3a@yahoo.co.uk [/FONT]




    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA, 28 APRIL 2006 – On Sunday, 30 April 2006 more than 100 drug user activists from across the world will come together in Vancouver, Canada for an International Drug User Activists Congress. The Congress is the first such event to unite activists working to support the health and human rights of people who use drugs in Asia, Australia, North America, Eastern and Western Europe and Latin America. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The Congress will provide a unique opportunity for drug users working in drug user self help networks from many different countries to meet face to face and share information and skills” said Annie Madden of the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Drug user organizations are non governmental organisations run by and for people who use or have used illicit drugs and people currently in drug treatment. Drug user organizations currently exist in dozens of countries including Canada, the UK, Thailand, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark, the USA, and many others. Such groups have contributed greatly to civil society and government programs by, for example: [/FONT]

    1. [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]In Canada, establishing the first supervised injecting site – an important HIV, hepatitis and overdose prevention measure – in North America (Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users); [/FONT]
    2. [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]In Thailand, expanding access to HIV prevention and treatment services for drug dependent people, and documenting human rights abuses against them (Thai Drug Users Network); [/FONT]
    3. [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]In the United Kingdom, working with government to produce a National Hepatitis C Strategy (several UK drug user organizations). [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]We have a large and growing international drug user activist network and the International Congress will be used to finalise a statement about this unique network’s aims and members,” said Grant McNally of the English National Users and Hepatitis C Foundation. In addition to networking and information sharing opportunities, a series of skills building sessions on topics as diverse as peer education, drug treatment advocacy, human rights, activism and ethics will be held as part of the Congress. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The International Drug User Activists Congress coincides with the 17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm, which is also being held in Vancouver from 30 April to 4 May at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Drug user activists from many countries will be presenting at the International Harm Reduction Conference alongside doctors, researchers, policy makers and health workers. Drug user activists have a great deal to offer at an international conference such as this as their knowledge and experiences are unique and they provide important insights into the daily lives of people who use illicit drugs,” added Milena Naydenova from the Bulgarian drug user organization Hope-Sofia. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]By linking the International Drug User Activist Congress and the International Harm Reduction Conference, drug user activists from across the world are hoping to use the week to highlight the urgent health, social and legal issues for people who use illicit drugs. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]We want the chance to speak for ourselves, to be heard and to be treated with basic dignity and respect,” stated Andria Efthimiou of the John Mordant Trust. “Drug users are one of the most marginalised and stigmatised groups in the community. Even in the context of this event, one of our leading colleagues – Bijay Pandy of the group Recovering Nepal – was denied a Canadian entry visa. It is time to take a stand against the way that drug users are treated in society and we believe the Congress and Harm Reduction Conference is a great way to highlight the urgent need for action.” [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]For further comment and to arrange interviews with Congress participants, please contact any of the members of the International Drug User Activist Congress Media Working Group: [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Ann Livingston, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, BC Canada. VANDU Office: +1-604-683-6061. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]annlive@direct.ca [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Stijn Goossens, STAD/Breakline Antwerpen Belgium. Mobile: +32-479-98-2271. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]hardcoreharmreducer@yahoo.com[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Andria Efthimiou, John Mordant Trust. London UK. Mobile: +44-784-143-3187. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]andria3a@yahoo.co.uk[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Grant McNally, English National Users and Hepatitis C Foundation (ENUhF), [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]UK. Mobile: +44-208-429-0956. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]gmc5@btinternet.com[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Annie Madden, Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League, Canberra Australia. Mobile: +61-414-628-136. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]anniem@aivl.org.au [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Matt Curtis, International Harm Reduction Development Program, Open Society Institute, New York City, USA. Mobile: +1-646-234-9062. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]MCurtis@sorosny.org [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Milena Naydenova, Hope, Sofia, Bulgaria. Mobile: +359-898-949-583. Email: [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]hope_sofia.bg@abv.bg [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]### [/FONT]

Comments

  1. The Doors
    I do believe that it is a good idea to have such a conference. But on the other hand, I highly doubt it will do anything to "help" the cause. Drug users will always be looked at in an inferior way to the rest of the world, even though they're not. Some of them do have problems, but still, it's no worse then alcoholism which we all know is a drug addiction but the general public refuses to believe that alcohol is a drug.
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