Lebanon has faced problems arising from buprenorphine abuse in recent years as people who use drugs have chosen different routes of administration, such as snorting or injecting, which increased the harms caused by the OST drug. Buprenorphine sublingual tablets contain corn starch and other active ingredients which can cause blood clots, and are designed to be taken orally, by placing them under your tongue. People have been experimenting with buprenorphine in an attempt to create produce a high associated with opioids and this has, rather alarmingly, led to buprenorphine now being sold on the black market. Youth RISE, along with other national NGOs in Lebanon such as SIDC, OM el NOUR, SKOON, and many others started working on ways to solve these problems. Youth RISE team member Bachaar Kawach was working in this group as a social and medical worker, and experienced activist, concluded that the best strategy would be to convince the Ministry of Public Health to implement new strategies, such as adapting the formula of the tablets.
The main points of his suggestion were:
After 8 years of generic buprenorphine being used in OST, in the beginning of this year suboxone has finally been registered and is now available to be distributed as OST. Feedback from people using the new suboxone formula has been positive and we hope to continue education about the harms associated with the misuse of OST drugs throughout the year.
Youth RISE Project Managers Ishwor Maharjan and Florian Scheibein recently attended the 4YOUTH Inception Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. The 4YOUTH Consortium is a partnership between Youth RISE, Youth LEAD, YPEER and Y+Network. We are very excited about this one! More details can be found in the attached document here.
On 26-27th March 2019, the Georgian National Harm Reduction Conference was held in Tbilisi, the first time the conference has taken place since 2013. Along with the Georgian guests, the conference was also attended by international experts, who shared their experiences and recommendations.
The conference was informative and productive, however the lack of policy makers in attendance was disappointing, especially given the turbulent recent history of drug policy in Georgia. In response, Georgian drug policy activists placed the figures of Georgian policymakers among the audience to highlight the importance of their inclusion in the discussion.
The primary goal of this conference was to bring together local and global professionals, field experts and stakeholders in an open dialogue. Despite the absence of the decision makers, the conference was a success. The engagement of attendees helped to formulate new questions, plans, and future goals towards which we will continue to work.
An attempt at a large group photo in front of CND today was prevented from happening by security due to the presence of Support Don’t Punish imagery and slogans. Despite receiving permission for a photo, and the UNODC giving funding towards the Support Don’t Punish campaign, the photo was briefly prevented because it was deemed to be a protest or demonstration which had not been sanctioned, before eventually being given the all clear without the use of slogans, with the posters all being confiscated. Participants were threatened with bans and prevented from recording the incident, with one person being escorted from the location. This suppression of radical and dissenting voices at CND is astounding!
Youth RISE International Coordinator Morgana Daniele spoke this Thursday at the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. She spoke as a youth representative on behalf of Youth RISE at the side event entitled “A Health-Centered Approach to Drug Dependence, a Multi-Factorial Health Disorder”. The event was organized by the Norwegian Government and Morgana gave an impassioned speech encouraging attendees to fight to help those with addiction and empower people with as many possibilities and opportunities as possible to overcome to illness of addiction. You can view a full video of the speech here.
During the annual reflection meeting on 26-27 Feb, 2019, held in Bangkok, Thailand, Youth RISE, along with other consortium members agreed and decided to strengthen and expand the Global Consortium of Youth-led organizations. It was agreed that this would be done through a number of channels by increasing collaboration and coordinating with each other in 2019. Hence In 2019 all consortium members agreed and allocated some budget from each side, to organize a Global workshop on Global Fund which is planned to be held in June 2019 in South Africa.
Youth RISE has attended the annual Harm Reduction Consortium meeting in February and finalized the previous 3-year project round by submitting our narrative and financial reports, as well as sharing the results of 2018 with our donor Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund and the Consortium partners through the publication of our annual report. Youth RISE as part of the Consortium will continue its work of civil society strengthening in the next 2019-2021 project round, which promises to be continue our regional work, organisational development and expansion, campaigns and better communication.
Youth RISE has expanded its International Working Group to 16 members, with plans for a further expansion to become a team of 20 people by April. Our new team formation allows Youth RISE to represent drug and youth related issues from a truly global perspective. The newly formed team will work to further strengthen our network in 2019 by implementing small grant activities on regional level, as well as organising specific actions and campaigns.
YouthRISE are happy to publish our Annual Report for the year of 2018. The report, entitled “12 Years of YouthRISE” shows the many projects we are happy to have been involved with this year. It spans through the work we have done in the past year starting at the national level in our countries and regions through to international conferences and advocacy work at the United Nations. You can view the annual report here.
We’re very happy to be able to announce that Youth RISE has become a partner in the three year “Youth Taking Roots and Branching Out” Project as part of the Robert Carr Network Fund (RCNF) Youth Consortium. The project is a collaboration between Youth RISE, Youth LEAD, Y PEER and Y+ Network.
Y+ Network provides “leadership and empowerment to young people living with HIV (YPLHIV) globally, ensuring they are meaningfully engaged and included in political and programmatic spaces that impact their lives”.
Youth RISE will be developing elearning content on harm reduction/drug policy, public health/human rights and advocacy. We will pilot the content in four regions of the world each year. We will also develop an online resource library hub.
We have our first Consortium kick off meeting in Bangkok at the end of February and will hold a youth consultation later in the year!
Please let us know if you have any thought or suggestions around content to include.