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 front of Parliament House, London, our peers came together for an intimate moment. -remembering and paying tribute to loved ones lost in this War on Drugs.

In front of Parliament House, London, our peers came together for an intimate moment. -remembering and paying tribute to loved ones lost in this War on Drugs.

 

From London: Thanks to Lambeth Service User Council and Release who organised the event with support from Lorraine Hewitt House and South London and Maudley NHS.

We huddled against a backdrop of Parliament house, with tourists, Brexit campaigners and the police in the backgrond and spoke about love, loss and remembrance. It is always a very emotional day on the 21st July for many of us, and with the UK having the highest overdose rates in the EU at the moment iy seemed pertinent to have Parliament in the background. There is always a fine line on these days in sharing an intensely personal moment with ones peers, to feeling rising anger and pain at the system of prohibition that keeps pushing the numbers of unnecessary deaths ever higher. Although in countries we are seeing positive changes, in the UK things are going ever backwards. Gary Sutton from release spoke of the numbers of people continuing to be arrested and imprisoned for small time drug offenses, the court system that keeps them there and the insanity of the whole process. Sir John Strang came along and spoke of overdose rates and the need for further awareness and prevention and the years spent working in the field of drug treatment. And I spoke about loss and the pain of losing a loved one unexpectedly and the added humiliation when it comes to attitudes from police who chalk it up to ‘Just another overdose’ without investigating anything and then family members who can refuse to acknowledge the person who died just because they used drugs. And with 21st July being the day Parliament closes for the Summer, it seemed like days like this will never end. But the warmth and solidarity from our community and friends and supporters, it was a beautifully intimate day, with kind, honest words, tears and big hearts all round, even with the policemen who came to politely watch. Thanks London xxx

In Stockholm, Sweden

 Vid minnesträdet, en al vid Årstavikens strand, som planterades för sex år sedan och sedan dess vuxit sig stor, samlades medlemmar i Stockholms Brukarförening på lördagen, den 21 juli, den Internationella Brukardagen, för att hedra vänner och kamrater som drabbats av en alltför tidig död orsakad av narkotikabruk. ... samlades på lördagen, den Internationella Brukardagen, ett tjugotal personer till en minnesceremoni  .  ..A report from the International Remembrance Day in Sweden 2018  On the 21 st of July, it was once again time for the International Remembrance Day in Sweden. It is a day we gather in several places in the world to commemorate and honour the lives of people lost during the year. At three o’clock, it was time. We at the Stockholm Drug Users Union had been shopping for coffee and preparing the afternoon. Up to 25 people appeared and wanted to remember lost ones with us. Among them, we’re two politicians and a photographer from Dagens Nyheter. We gathered at our memorial tree in Årstaviken. A tree planted for the purpose and grown ever more over the years. The heat was compact despite the cloud-cleared sky. Cold soda and well-chilled melon slices were prepared and served up for our time together. After we stood around and chatted to each other, we formed in a ring and stopped for a moment of silence. We had bought flowers and those who wanted could choose one or more for the persons they wanted to remember. Almost all took the opportunity to speak about a person they miss and who they have lost to the war on drugs. Afterwards, one of the SDUUs employees read up a self-written poem called "Flower petals of the wind". Then we threw the colourful flowers into the bay.  It was an emotional but very nice moment, despite the despair many felt that the situation for users in Sweden still are very tough. Beyond the tears and anger there were also streaks of hope as well as a belief that things can also get better. There was also remembrance ceremonies held in the southern town of Malmö and Varberg, who is located in the county of Halland.  “A flowers petal of the wind, a journey without an end, an interrupted life blows away. A  leaf floating in the air, without roots, so easy, whirring in the sky, looking for its course.  A flowers petal lifts from the ground, leaves the flower's body, seeking its way to the  sun, striving further up. Yes, life is an answerless riddle, an endless journey, without a  goal and without a path”.

Vid minnesträdet, en al vid Årstavikens strand, som planterades för sex år sedan och sedan dess vuxit sig stor, samlades medlemmar i Stockholms Brukarförening på lördagen, den 21 juli, den Internationella Brukardagen, för att hedra vänner och kamrater som drabbats av en alltför tidig död orsakad av narkotikabruk.... samlades på lördagen, den Internationella Brukardagen, ett tjugotal personer till en minnesceremoni .

..A report from the International Remembrance Day in Sweden 2018

On the 21 st of July, it was once again time for the International Remembrance Day in Sweden. It is a day we gather in several places in the world to commemorate and honour the lives of people lost during the year. At three o’clock, it was time. We at the Stockholm Drug Users Union had been shopping for coffee and preparing the afternoon. Up to 25 people appeared and wanted to remember lost ones with us. Among them, we’re two politicians and a photographer from Dagens Nyheter. We gathered at our memorial tree in Årstaviken. A tree planted for the purpose and grown ever more over the years. The heat was compact despite the cloud-cleared sky. Cold soda and well-chilled melon slices were prepared and served up for our time together. After we stood around and chatted to each other, we formed in a ring and stopped for a moment of silence. We had bought flowers and those who wanted could choose one or more for the persons they wanted to remember. Almost all took the opportunity to speak about a person they miss and who they have lost to the war on drugs. Afterwards, one of the SDUUs employees read up a self-written poem called "Flower petals of the wind". Then we threw the colourful flowers into the bay.

It was an emotional but very nice moment, despite the despair many felt that the situation for users in Sweden still are very tough. Beyond the tears and anger there were also streaks of hope as well as a belief that things can also get better. There was also remembrance ceremonies held in the southern town of Malmö and Varberg, who is located in the county of Halland.

“A flowers petal of the wind, a journey without an end, an interrupted life blows away. A

leaf floating in the air, without roots, so easy, whirring in the sky, looking for its course.

A flowers petal lifts from the ground, leaves the flower's body, seeking its way to the

sun, striving further up. Yes, life is an answerless riddle, an endless journey, without a

goal and without a path”.

    Berlin, Germany      Berlin: July 21 International Remembrance day. Every year, 21 July in Berlin passes the day of memory of people killed by drugs. This year, the action celebrated its 20th anniversary. Berlin second year in a row takes part in the memorial day.     This year we gave a speech for the first time. Talked about naloksone, which helps to reverse overdoseʹ among drug users. No less important to preserve life is access to ART therpies and substitution therapies as well as new low-cost shelter and dormitories. In the second part of our message, we were reminded of the problem of drug users who came from Baltic. They remain the least protected in Europe and very often can't get treatment and other help.It was noticeable that this community was the most numerous and active. It is important to understand that the problems of people using drugs who have come to Berlin from other countries are very sharp and need a solution. The day of memory has united today everyone who is engaged in the help of drug workers: Jes, Fix Punkt, Deutsche Aids Hilfe, Berliner aids hilfe. These organizations many years help people and their invitation for us is a great honor. So it is especially important that today, on the day of memory in one row with them was berlin!

Berlin, Germany

Berlin: July 21 International Remembrance day.
Every year, 21 July in Berlin passes the day of memory of people killed by drugs. This year, the action celebrated its 20th anniversary. Berlin second year in a row takes part in the memorial day.

This year we gave a speech for the first time. Talked about naloksone, which helps to reverse overdoseʹ among drug users. No less important to preserve life is access to ART therpies and substitution therapies as well as new low-cost shelter and dormitories.
In the second part of our message, we were reminded of the problem of drug users who came from Baltic. They remain the least protected in Europe and very often can't get treatment and other help.It was noticeable that this community was the most numerous and active. It is important to understand that the problems of people using drugs who have come to Berlin from other countries are very sharp and need a solution.
The day of memory has united today everyone who is engaged in the help of drug workers: Jes, Fix Punkt, Deutsche Aids Hilfe, Berliner aids hilfe. These organizations many years help people and their invitation for us is a great honor. So it is especially important that today, on the day of memory in one row with them was berlin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment