There are often stories about the numerous human rights abuses suffered by drug users. To date there has been no quantification or recording of these abuses in a structured manner. In 2015, with funding from Mainline, Open Society Foundations and AmfAR, a surveillance project was initiated. We set up a system for PWID to report human rights violations experienced (Needles and syringes confiscated or broken, harm reduction packs taken, arrested for syringe possession, medications taken, detention without cause or processing, assaults). Data collection was integrated into the operations of a needle and syringe programme. Peer outreach workers recorded data using a paper form with tick-boxes. Data was entered into a spreadsheet for descriptive reporting. Data Locations were geospatially mapped and the nature of law enforcement engagement quantified.
The first report, for quarter four of 2015, was released during the RUN2016 SA Drug Policy Week. This was reported on in the press, including in Health-e news. The report can be downloaded from their report: http://www.health-e.org.za/2016/02/03/report-step-up-human-rights-report/
Cannabis policy has featured extensively in headlines, and there has been heated debate around the role of cannabis in South Africa. One of the areas that is often not considered in the debate is the impact of crop eradication on farmers in rural areas, not to mention the environment and the economy. Myrtle Clarke recently returned from the Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants. This meeting resulted in the Heemskerk Declaration, which you can download from the link below. Myrtle will be talking about this at an event titled Cannabis - the pan-African reality. This discussion is not part of the RUN2016 SA Drug Policy Week, but is a side event where the presenters, all cannbis activists, will present their views and then provide the opportunity for questions and discussion. While views on cannabis may be strongly divided, we should all educate ourselves around these multiple and complex issues. For further information, join Myrtle, Andre du Plessis and Marius de Kock on Tuesday the 2nd of February at 18h00 after the RUN2016 SA Drug Policy Week afternoon session has ended. Also have a look at the webpage of Fields of Green for All.
We will be adding the latest drug policy news here, as well as providing updates for the drug policy week.
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