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Youth RISE intervention at CND 2017

Who are we Really Protecting? If we are to address the issue of meaningful youth participation in the design of drug policy and programming/implementation of health services, using a peer-to-peer model is effective for training & capacity-building needs in youth advocacy endeavours within this realm. Youth advocates need collective, self-reflective inquiry in order to engage […]

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Half-Baked Opposition to Ireland’s Medical Cannabis Regulations Bill

Dr. Bobby Smyth, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist recently penned a piece in the Irish Examiner attacking Gino Kenny’s Medical Cannabis Regulation bill  entitled ‘It’s time to smoke out the lies about cannabis’.

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Rethinking drug policy in Africa

The African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013-2017) has continued to provide a solid basis for rethinking drug policy among member states.

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Study Tour in Rome

Having an insight into the setting, Villa Maraini (Rome, Italy), which one might say is a “paradise for people who use drugs”, would help to understand the context in which a 3-day study tour for harm reduction workers, organised by EHRN, took place in mid-November. The foundation was established by Massimo Barra under the Italian branch […]

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Regional Executive Clusters

The Regional Executive Clusters (REC) model will be implemented with our new strategy. We aim to use the REC model to increase participation, by engaging more local stakeholders. The REC will also adapt Youth RISE resources and information to their own context and run their own activities. These clusters will act as regional/national knowledge hubs to support Youth RISE in the creation of different harm reduction approaches for young people who use drugs. Their main activities will include training, publishing information and providing resources for young people who use drugs and the harm reduction sector. The REC organisational framework is based on the needs of young people in each region or country. Each region has their specific needs, which can only be presented in policy making by the regions themselves. REC will actively involve young people from different communities, in order to support and advocate for harm reduction. ‘Full Spectrum Harm Reduction’ is our vision.

Mexico

The situation in Mexico and Latin America is both heartbreaking and very promising, but it is definitely polarized and it has lots of contrasts between very forward thinking progressive approaches to drug policy such as Uruguay or Bolivia that are becoming an international beacon and reference because of their radical shifts in regulation surrounding cannabis and coca leaf, and the full-frontal war on drugs that is devastating Mexico and many countries in the region, specially in Central America.

Latin America has played a central role in the global process around drug trends and the war on drugs, because of historical producing countries like Colombia and the influence of the United States that has provoked great changes in the whole region but mainly in Mexico, where we can now see the biggest production of Methamphetamine worldwide, the third in terms of Heroin and over 150,000 people that have died because of the war on drugs. In some areas within Mexico, murder is the leading cause of death for young men and drug related charges are the main cause of imprisonment for young women.

The dynamics of drug production, trafficking and use are shifting very rapidly and this has fueled radical responses, most of them very violent and paying little or no attention to harm reduction strategies; with Youth RISE Latin America we are working to change this and to include human rights and youth perspective through the full-spectrum harm reduction model to the different countries and communities across the region.

Furthermore, there is a great cultural heritage of the traditional use of Sacred plants and plant-based medicine that is proving to be one of the major catalytic change-bringers for the future, so this will be one of the key axis of the efforts that will come from here, bringing closer to our modern globalized era the potential benefits that a respectful and adequate use of this tools can bring to the people.

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Nepal

In Nepal very little attention is given to interventions that provide an enabling environment for young drug users and there are virtually no human rights initiatives for this group. There should be meaningful participation of youths at local and national decision-making bodies to ensure the voice of youths on issues affecting their lives are met effectively and appropriately and their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. Specific research regarding young drug users should be undertaken in order to address their issues, since they are not generally captured in the current monitoring methods.

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Indonesia

In Indonesia, we are now facing a national emergency with regard to drug use, as well as an increasingly punitive war on drugs. This situation has entailed increased police arrests for drug offences and rising use of the death penalty for drug dealers. Prisons are being filled with drug users. People who have the potential to be productive citizens and to pursue a good education can have their entire lives ruined, just because they are arrested for drug offences.

Youth RISE Indonesia aims to involve young people who use drugs who, empowered with other members of society, shall realize justice and the fulfillment of their Human Rights.

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Ireland

The 2015 the National Student Drug Survey of Ireland showed that a vast majority of students have used both legal and illegal drugs.including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, MDMA, amphetamines, ketamine, new psychoactive substances (NPSs), and prescription drugs. Ireland is currently writing its next drug strategy. The introduction of medically-supervised injection site pilot projects has a large consensus support and a naloxone pilot project looks to be expanded. The Department of Health is considering options regarding drug checking services. A bill which will legislate for the availability of cannabis-based medicines will be debated in Houses of Parliament in the coming months.

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Australia

Traditional harm reduction initiatives in Australia have been very successful since the late 1980s. Despite a call for innovative harm reduction programs within the national policy, new initiatives focused towards young people and aimed at reducing drug-related harms, struggle to gain support and funding from Australian governments.

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Jamaica

The island of Jamaica is in a peculiar place as it relates to drug policy and harm reduction as it moves towards the decriminalization of the drug that some may say has made the country popular, marijuana. As the country takes the commendable step towards the revolutionary review in drug policy and Harm Reductions Services; it’s relationship with groups such as ours, YouthRISE, is inevitable and extremely important.
The country of Jamaica is bound to other Caribbean countries with the CARICOM community as the unifying agent. Since these countries, as some may say, are so interdependent it is important that they all band together to ensure efficient management of policy development as it relates to harm reduction strategies (HR) to avoid the negative effect of economic contagion. And, YouthRISE is proud to be at the helm of this within this region.

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Pakistan

Pakistan sits on one of the world’s busiest drug trafficking corridors, largely due to the cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis in neighboring Afghanistan. According to UNODC estimates 40% of the drugs (heroin & charas) produced in Afghanistan are routed through Pakistan. There are about 8.9 million drug users living in Pakistan, most of whom are young people. In Pakistan there are very few Harm Reduction centers nor are there any big government programs for harm reduction. However donor agencies such as the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and UNODC support harm reduction programs for people who inject drugs. These programs are implemented through civil society organizations (CSOs) in selected cities.

Youth Rise Pakistan is working to establish a network of young drug users and youth led NGO’s who will work together to reduce the demand of drugs through awareness programs, preventive education, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as harm reduction programs.

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Malawi

As a society in transition, drug use in Malawi strongly correlates with the pressures placed upon society during the rapid modernization and the decline in traditional social relationships.

Youth RISE Malawi makes sure that the philosophical justification and efficacy aspects are addressed when evaluating drug policy. Solutions to the drug problem will have to address the health needs of the drug user and the context, particularly socio-economic, of drug use rather than insisting solely on jailing the culprits.

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Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is one of the many countries which suffers from a high unemployment rate which has led many young people turning to drugs due to the stress of not being employed and high poverty levels. This has led to many negative implications in the country as over 5445 were arrested last year as a result of drug use and over 135 drug psychosis incidents have been recorded each month at the main hospital Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare.

Youth RISE Zimbabwe aims to implement harm reduction strategies through local healthcare workers who are on the ground in Zimbabwe as well as lobbying for better and sustainable policies for people who use drugs.

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Kenya

East Africa accounts for one fifth of overall estimated injecting drug user population in Africa with estimates of 261,507. A large number of the injecting drug user communities live in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania and with high HIV prevalence rates; Mauritius 51%, Tanzania 42% and Kenya 18%. Moreover, the PWID population is at a substantial higher risk of infection from HIV and other blood borne infections. Limited data, criminalization, poor coordination and low coverage of services has hindered strategic approach to harm reduction policies within the region.

The little advocacy undertaken has positioned drug policy reform and needs of PWID as a public health concern which has led to various programmatic and policy efforts. Such include the establishment of a policy framework for  a national HIV and harm reduction response targeting PWID by the Kenyan ministry of health and roll out of standard operating guidelines for initiating harm reduction

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Nigeria

YouthRISE Nigeria stands for Youth Initiative for Drug Research, Information, Support and Education for reducing drug related harms. YouthRISE Nigeria began light operations in 2010. It was formally founded in 2014. This was in response to an increase in drug use and HIV infection amongst young people, and the need for policy change and effective public health response in the country. At the moment due to the expertise of the organisation, YouthRISE do not only provide HIV services for young people who use drugs but also the adult population of people who use drugs.

Youth RISE Nigeria is an indigenous organisation and benefits from being connected with an international network of people with global experiences in drug policy and effective programming for young people who use drugs. YouthRISE is a proud winner of the prestigious UNAIDS 2016 Red Ribbon Award which was presented during the international AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.

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Regional Executive Clusters

The Regional Executive Clusters (REC) model will be implemented with our new strategy. We aim to use the REC model to increase participation, by engaging more local stakeholders. The REC will also adapt Youth RISE resources and information to their own context and run their own activities. These clusters will act as regional/national knowledge hubs to support Youth RISE in the creation of different harm reduction approaches for young people who use drugs. Their main activities will include training, publishing information and providing resources for young people who use drugs and the harm reduction sector. The REC organisational framework is based on the needs of young people in each region or country. Each region has their specific needs, which can only be presented in policy making by the regions themselves. REC will actively involve young people from different communities, in order to support and advocate for harm reduction. ‘Full Spectrum Harm Reduction’ is our vision.

Projects

International advocacy

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs Youth RISE will be blogging live from this years UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March. The CND Blog is a project of the International Drug Policy Consortium and it is regularly updated with contributions from Youth RISE and other IDPC member organisations. The website address is www.cndblog.org. The blog […]

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educate

Educate, empower & engage Young people

Young people, particularly marginalised youth, are vulnerable to engaging in risky drug using and sexual behaviour that may lead to a number of harms. Young people who use drugs are often discriminated against reducing employment and education opportunities.  Marginalisation is often exacerbated by misguided policies that further harms rather than protecting and supporting health and […]

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rise up

Rise up

Recognising the lack of resources available that are tailored to the specific needs of young people who use drugs, Youth RISE embarked on a four-year project to develop resources for practical use by peer educators to address harm reduction and HIV prevention. “Youth RISE Up! for HIV Prevention” was a project funded by MTV’s Staying […]

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