Drug Users Unite at International Congress

“Drug Users Unite at International Congress”

On Sunday 30th April 2006 drug user activists from across the world will come together in Vancouver, Canada for an International Drug User Activists Congress.

“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” say members of the Congress’ media working group.

Drug user self help networks are non government organisations run by and for people who use or have used illicit drugs and people currently in drug treatment. Drug user self help networks currently exist in many countries including the UK, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, East and South East Asia, Northern Europe, Australia and North America.

“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, its aims and its members. 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” the media group said.

The International Drug User Activists Congress is being held in conjunction 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.

“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” they added.

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.

“We want the chance to speak for ourselves, to be heard and to be treated with basic dignity and respect in society. Drug users are one of the most marginalised and stigmatised groups in the community. 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” the media group stated.