Remembrance Day Statement -
Written by International Network of People who Use Drugs
Today is the International Day to remember our loved ones who have died as a result of prohibition. They have died unnecessarily as a result of criminalisation, stigmatisation, and the social exclusion that has resulted from the war on people who use drugs. The government are oblivious to the reality of the harm caused by their failed and heartless policies. These deaths are avoidable. Because drugs are criminalised, they are produced on the black market. People in the UK have died from heroin contaminated with anthrax. People in the UK have died as a result of their ecstasy and MDMA containing toxic PMA. Under prohibition, there is simply no possibility to ensure the content of drugs.
And recently, fentanil and carfentanil have contaminated heroin, resulting in increasing numbers of overdose mortalities. This all while governments fail to act as they would if this affected any other population. As a result of their disregard, these tragic, unnecessary, entirely avoidable deaths are increasing across Europe, and overdose mortality is at a ten year high in the UK. The governments policies of austerity have seen our services and healthcare decimated, and the promotion of a narrative of abstinence and ‘recovery’. This has been at the expense of evidence- and rights-based harm reduction and service provision.
• 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.
Tributes Paid Around the World
In London, England
In Stockholm, Sweden