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CASO: Campaigning in Portugal

(Although this happened in June, EuroNPUD wanted to make sure it got included in our blogs, as its a beautiful campaign story of inclusion and community and we apologise for it being a late entry - Erin)

CASO campaign | on the 23rd of June, a Saturday

Written by Rui Salvador

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In Porto, in a social housing neighborhood, in an abandoned building that is occupied by around 12 people and it is a place used by many people just to go there and smoke or inject outside of normalizing looks…

Unfortunately the week before on the 14th a person died there, alone, surrounded by garbage, needle still in the arm…

As it is one of the places where we’ve been developing a project trying to have 2 Peers from CASO at least two days peer week, since the beginning of March, it seemed the adequate and right place and moment to develop this action.

On the 26th of June, we participated in the campaigns of APDES and GAT (Vila Nova de Gaia and Lisbon)

To be closer to our community, in an ongoing process of deeper connection and local proximity and relationship… so this is a specific social housing neighborhood with an open scene of consumption, in the city of Porto, where CASO is developing a project since March.

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There were more than 30 people involved . Rui Salvador, Daniel and Rodrigo the artist were the heroes… Rui Salvador was organizing the day with the help of people who usually use the space. Daniel one of the new members of CASO, was a great help and someone who learned all the steps of this process of stamping in T’shirts

On Friday 22nd, we received the artist Rodrigo (Dedo Mau), we had a checklist of everything (materials needed, schedule for next day)…

Dedo Mau explained about how simple the process is and how creative it can be to produce you´re own sentence for you’re T.shirt and to leave equipment and knowledge to replicate this creative way of expression… he inquired a lot about the local context and seemed very interested and invested in giving the best of him…

I still had the privilege to see him cutting some letters and a drawing, also as an offer and an example of what can be done…

SATURDAY MORNING

As we didn’t received the T.shirts on time we went Saturday 23rd early morning to a local flea market and bought some T.shirts there.

When we arrived we met Luís Vieira Campos a film director that is involved with other CASO projects appeared and recorded some of the moments.

We prepared the equipment and the context...

And did it!

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We had some food and water, and also some beers, and a guy brought a bottle of a special wine… a real feeling of community or else a very good illusion…

Around 30 people appeared during the day. Some to support de action and some to use it’s drug and then have a talk, something to eat and drink, and debating informally on rights and policy, especially right to health and housing, and on top to learn a new way of expression—a handscraft tecnic…

And during the day there was curiosity and people moved and kind of bumped into one another or sometimes with small groups or even with one person…

We tried to be totally there and just facilitating a moment of encounter and sharing and of course here and there in different rooms of the abandoned space there were some flyers or some sticker that could and can facilitate some debate and sharing of information… so we had special information about hepatitis treatment, about rights and harm reduction…

Difficulty in engaging media and with organizing an encounter that is at one hand in an abandoned public building and at the other pretends to reach some local authorities and stakeholders, in fact on the 27th, CASO was heard in the Municipality because Safe Consumption Programs… and we talked mostly about what people just said in the weekend, and about an overdose that occurred 15 days before in the same building… 10 meters from us, 2 rooms away from us a guy had died… so it was an hard context to have official media also because of the exposure of the place, and particularly he people who live there…

As every year we underestimated the whole amount of time and energy and specific time allocated and we say that it is important to begin earlier and have more time…

What worked: the proximity and acceptance and inclusion we felt in the community

And what didnt: The idea that with all the network effort and with all our dedication we could have had a more impact not by exposure as it wasn’t, but by inclusion with a more adequate plan, and specifically a communication plan that could have invited with a proper time in advance the specific people that we people of the community would like to see there, seeing in th eyes of a decider or a professional even some outreach health professionals, the importance of being considered…

From now on you (politicians) know, we know, you’ve seen a little bit more of some reality… now do the left thing and this choose wisely

THANKS!

TO ALL INVOLVED AND THE ONES THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE.

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Looking Back Over A Campaigning Summer, 2018

 In Norway, ProLar had a great day talking to the public about the issues affecting people who use drugs.

In Norway, ProLar had a great day talking to the public about the issues affecting people who use drugs.

Over Summer, 2018, there were 3 big campaigns for our community - in June there was Support. Don’t Punish, in July there was International Remembrance Day and in August there was International Overdose Awareness Day. Here is Janko Belins round up of what some of the Eiropean drug user groups did for Support Dont Punish, this June.

2018 Global Day of Action - Support. Don't Punish

Janko Belin (EuroNPUD Cooordinator)

In the year 2018, EURONPUD members organized a number of events in more than 8 EU countries to address punitive approach that is part of prohibitive nature of War on Drugs named this year »Self-Support Don't Punish-US«. We could not count all events but I will recollect those who had to apply for EuroNPUD grants and a few that organized events by their own means.

Norway

Foreningen for human narkotikapolitikk & proLAR Nett (drug user unions) organized 2 events on 26 of June in Oslo and in Bergen.

In Oslo there was a picket outside the parliament with stands and banners. ProLAR invited politicians and public to join this event to talk about drug policy and to take some pictures, politicians were invited to come to join them outside for picture and small-talk. Later same day NGO »Foreningen for human narkotikapolitikk«, organized an evening seminar about drug and drug use. In Bergen, proLAR erected stands, invited people to have a talk about the Support Don't Punish event.

Slovenia

NGO AREAL organized a talk about drug policy and troubles Slovenian drug users are facing at Drop-In centre Šent, nearby OST program at Metelkova. They took a few pictures and address issues of Naloxone that is still non-available over the counter. Next day, on 27th od June NGO AREAL, held an activist picnic outside their premises at Tovarna ROG. After the picnic, they talk about drug policy in Slovenia and how Safe Consumption room is needed in Ljubljana. Safe Room was operated in Ljubljana already twice but was closed. First time in 2008 was closed by Police intervention, the second time in 2016 it was closed (again) lacking political support.

Montenegro

 SDP Montenegro!

SDP Montenegro!

Montenegrin Harm Reduction network LINK marked the 26th of June with a campaign dedicated to »Youth and NPS& Party drugs«. The guest was a psychologist from NGO Juventas which supported this event. After talks, in the open tribune, a documentary dedicated to both NGO's was screened. (See the previous blog for more information about Montenegros SDP campaign).

Sweden

Brukarföreningen Stockholm (Stockholm Drug Users Union) marked SDP 2018 as The Day of Action in the Stockholm City. They organized an activist meeting in the city centre, handed out flyers and badges. They also disseminated clean syringes and provided information about the Naloxone.

Lithuania

June 26th 2018 in Vilnius was marked by two NGO's “Young Wave” and “Resetas”. NGO Resetas organized a picket outside the Prison department.

NGO »Young Wave« organized a screening of the famous movie Breaking The Taboo. Screening of the movie was followed by a discussion with politicians, representatives of Police and activists. Same day graffiti in the all-inclusion spirit of Support Don0t Punish had been painted on the streets of Vilnius.

Portugal

 In Berlin SDP was held raising issues of the Russian drug using community.

In Berlin SDP was held raising issues of the Russian drug using community.

Organizations APDES and GAT gathered on June the 26th in an abandoned house where some 12 homeless drug users dwell. They held a community action to improve living conditions. Part of this premises was also cleaned as a lot of people seldom use this place to inject and throw away garbage. After this peer-to-peer action, they talk about Harm Reduction and O.D. prevention.

Slovakia

26th of June in Bratislava had been marked by the effort of NGO Oddyseus. They had and stand at  Pentagon & Pohoda Festival informing gatherers (30.000 of them) about safe sex & safer drug use. Besides organizing the stand they held two separate events: one for the general public and one in close setting just for drug users. We must emphasize that 'Self-Support Don't Punish-US' event as part of global day of action has been held first time in Slovakia. Bravo!

Events and actions on 26th of June dedicated to the spirit of Support Don't Punish had been held also in England, Spain, Germany, Denmark and who knows where. This year we, drug users adopt new slogan to be distinctive from ordinary Harm Reduction NGO's Self-Support Don't Punish-US so if you hear or see it know that this is an activistic event, not just ordinary Harm Reduction endeavour that is in some countries still not transparent enough and what worries me, sometimes working directly against drug users. Instrumentalized and from drug users alienated Harm Reduction is bad Harm Reduction!


Janko Belin

Društvo AREAL


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The UK's Naloxone and Advocacy Awareness Project

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The UK's Naloxone and Advocacy Awareness Project

EuroNPUD designs and delivers a project aimed at increasing the availability of Peer 2 Peer Naloxone in the UK. Working with peer partners in 3 areas of the UK with some of the highest overdose rates, our community dug down to find out where naloxone is being ditributed and where it isnt and what any barriers to access, mean for the opiate user on the street.

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International Remembrance Day, 21st July 2018

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International Remembrance Day, 21st July 2018

• Our communities demand an end to austerity, an end to the war on drugs and people who use drugs.
• We demand to be decriminalised.
• We demand for our drugs to be legalised so that we do not risk our health and lives every time we use drugs.
• We demand access to comprehensive harm reduction and means with which to test the contents of our drugs, as well as widespread access to life-saving overdose reversing naloxone.
• We demand an end to  social exclusion, and a recognition of our human rights. We do not forfeit our human rights because we use drugs.
• We are the people who use drugs, and we demand to be recognised.

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On Support. Don't Punish Day - Visit the Kazakhstan  Embassy!

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On Support. Don't Punish Day - Visit the Kazakhstan Embassy!

: on the 26th June, drug user groups along with other supporting organisations are encouraged to take a letter to your cities Kazakhstan embassy - and deliver it personally, taking pictures to send out across social media in protest. There are very real fears that if OST is lost in Kazakhstan, it will be lost in surrounding countries as well. Fight for our peers, fight for humane, evidence based drug policies and effective, life saving drug treatment. 

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