“You call each other junkies, so why can’t we adopt the jargon?” our Youth RISE adventures in the 4th Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference

“Aren‘t these simply cases of bad police practice that you have just presented?“ asks an audience member at the 4th Law Enforcement and Public Health conference after the Youth RISE International Coordinator speaks about encounters among police and young people who use drugs from across the world. As the question implies, were we presenting rare, dramatic stories of police harassment and use of violence and intimidation? Unfortunately, no. In many regions of the world where Youth RISE continues to work, frequent police brutality towards young people who use drugs continues to be reported: Pakistan, Indonesia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, Nepal, Ghana, Zimbabwe… you name it!

Youth RISE took part in the conference with two tasks on mind: to consult stakeholders, most of them police, on the guidelines we are currently developing (Guidelines for police on working with young people who use drugs) and get their feedback, and to lead a session on Harm reduction services for young people who use drugs and the role of law enforcement. Neither of these turned out to be easy.

Developing global guidelines means reflecting a wide scale of needs and an even wider one of cultural differences. The “ police should work professionally and ethically“ guideline might be classified as a “common sense“ by some countries, while others may ask to indicate things in a “clearer manner”, including such points as “Police should not use physical force when it is not necessary“. Avoiding age profiling in stop and search practices may be seen as implied in the statement about the professional work of police, whereas other stakeholders may express their wish for it to be a separate point in the guideline. “So how do we make it useful to everyone? What are our next steps to have these guidelines adopted?” these questions were the ones to puzzle us as we collected feedback from 100 stakeholders in the room.

The conference was not attended by many representatives of the community of people who use drugs and Youth RISE remained the only community organisation to hold a session. We talked about police violence towards people who use drugs in Pakistan, the use of young people who use drugs by police as tools to extort money from the youngsters’ families in Indonesia, about widespread intimidation in police practices and age profiling in Lithuania and the rest of Eastern Europe and other problems in many other countries across the globe. We touched upon harms on youth caused by high visibility policing (such as sniffer dogs) and the need of trauma informed policing. We tried to not only stick to voicing problems of young people who use drugs but review the possibilities of change and the current use of good practices building a better understanding among young people. Although these were not abundant and pessimism prevailed, the messages turned to be invaluable to the conference as a whole: our sessions balanced out some overly Belarus-dictator-like presentations from police themselves, declaring in most self-confident tone of a “Malborough” commercial how great everything back home in their states was and no problems ever existed.

Youth RISE may also have been the only ones to face recommendations to “treat” drug use among spoiled young people who use drugs by the employment of community service, explanations of age profiling as “means to ensure young peoples’ who use drugs own safety “ and arguments in defence of the inadequate language used by police “because you call each other junkies, so why can’t we adopt the jargon?”. Each and every time we learn and can be better prepared to counter the misconceptions, myths and stigmatising views. Every time we have an opportunity to provide food for thought to those defending prohibition.

Having returned from Toronto and looking back we can say, that participation in the 4th Law Enforcement and Public Health conference was immensely valuable to Youth RISE. This was a unique and incredibly enriching opportunity to see the situation form another, opposite side of barricades, to feel that not all police officers are villains, and to say that not all young people who use drugs are spoiled little f*ckers. Cooperation can really be achieved!

The Society for AIDS in Africa was established in Kinshasa in October 1990 during the 5thInternational Conference on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa, a precursor to the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). The formation of the Society for AIDS in Africa, which was facilitated by the (W.H.O) to encourage the African continent to host international conferences on HIV/AIDS, a disease whose scourge has hardest hit the continent.  This move encourages and empowers Africans to directly address and respond to the challenges posed by the HIV and AIDS pandemic on the continent.

The Society envisions an HIV free Africa with capacity to confront all related consequences and diseases.  The Society enables a positive environment for research on HIV and related diseases. The Society for AIDS in AFRICA (SAA) is governed by an Executive Council drawn from South, North, East, West and Central Africa. SAA collaborates with AfriCaso, SA-FAIDS, SWAA, NAP+, and Network of Youth in Africa and enjoy the support of the UN- System, as well as various International organizations, including the International AIDS Society (IAS)

Since its inception, SAA has successfully organized 18 International Conferences on HIV /AIDS and STIs in 14 Africa countries. The 2015 International Conference on AIDS and STIs was held in Harare – Zimbabwe, under the theme ‘’ AIDS in post 2015 Era: Linking Leadership, Science & Human rights’’. Over 5400 delegate from Africa and other regions of the world was convened to Zimbabwe.

On the 29th of June 2016, in Abidjan, at the offices of the   Cote D’Ivoire Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, the right to host the 19th International Conference on AIDS and STIs was conferred to Cote D’Ivoire. Cote D’Ivoire’s selection was a result of a rigorous evaluation of 3 countries including Cote D’Ivoire to host ICASA 2015.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Minister of Health and Public Hygiene and SAA with the strong support of the Cote D’Ivoire Government, it is my pleasure to officially declare Cote D’Ivoire as the next host country of 19th edition of ICASA, ICASA 2017!

We are conscious of the momentous task ahead as the host country prepare for ICASA.  We are sure that the Government of Cote D’Ivoire with the good people of this country through ICASA 2017, will further motivate all African countries Governments, International community to devote more attention, and commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other health related issues in Africa with the aims to end AIDS by 2030.

We are hereby appealing to all to follow closely the unveiling program of ICASA 2017 and to lend your support to Cote D’Ivoire, so that ICASA 2017 reflects lessons learnt that will further the new direction of the SDG strategies to move Africa towards stronger Health systems, and the elimination of HIV, TB and Malaria.

About The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA)

The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the custodian of ICASA was founded in 1989 at the fourth International Symposium on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa (now ICASA) held in Marseille, France by a group of African scientists, activists and advocates in response to this epidemic. SAA envisions and African continent free of HIV, TB and malaria and their debilitating effects on communal and societal structures, where people are socially and economically empowered to live product lives in dignity.

For more information on SAA please visit www.saafrica.org.

ABSTRACTS SUBMISSION WILL BE OPEN ON 1st March 2017 and Last day for Submission 30th April 2017, ifngoabstractsubmission@gmail.com

Themes for abstract submission:

 

  • Drugs: Public Health or Law Enforcement Issue?
  • Treatment, The Successful Way
  • Harm Reduction a Successful Way
  • International Cooperation
  • Services for Young People
  • Services for Active Drug Users
  • Services for Women
  • Harm Reduction on Law Enforcement
  • Addictions
  • Families
  • New Psychoactive Substances
  • Prevention Programs

 

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Over 600 participants from 58 countries attended the First European conference on addictive behaviors and dependencies held in Lisbon in 2015. The conference sold out several months before the event. Selected presentations and posters are still available on the conference website.

Following this success, the organizers have decided to launch Lisbon Addictions 2017, which will take place in the Lisboa Congress Centre (a new venue, which can accommodate up to 850 participants), from 24 to 26 October 2017.

Once again, the conference will be jointly organized by the Portuguese General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD), the journal Addiction, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE).

View more information on the event here.

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference is a biennial event that brings together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. It brings together over 1,000 attendees representing 30 different countries.

This year attendees will have the opportunity to spend three days interacting with people committed to finding alternatives to the war on drugs while participating in sessions given by leading experts from around the world.

Registration will open in the Spring of 2017.

London, United Kingdom, and Montréal, QC, Canada, March 21st 2016 – Harm Reduction International (HRI) and The Association des intervenants en dépendance du Québec (AIDQ), with the support of the Direction de la santé publique (DSP) of the Healthcare and Social Services Ministry (Québec) and Tourisme Montréal, are pleased to announce that the 25th International Harm Reduction Conference will be hosted in Montréal from May 14th to 17th 2017.

Held once every two years in a different country around the world, the International Harm Reduction Conference has become the global focal point for knowledge-sharing, networking and promoting best practice in the field of harm reduction. The conference is attended by up to 1000 delegates from over 70 countries, including medical and policy experts, harm reduction practitioners, campaigners, and people who use drugs.

For Québec, and for Canada as a whole, this major event will be an exceptional opportunity for local, regional and national community groups, healthcare and social services stakeholders, and the wider population, to learn about progress and innovation around the world, and to share their own expertise and experience with a global audience.

2017 is a notable year for Montréal, as the city will be celebrating its 375th anniversary.

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SSDP2017 will bring more than 400 student members, alumni, and supporters to Portland, Oregon March 24-26 for our annual gathering featuring:

  • Educational programming. The core conference program will include prominent keynote speakers and panels addressing the hottest topics in policy, harm reduction, leadership, organizing, and advocacy.
  • Awards Ceremony + Dance Party. SSDP recognizes outstanding network members with an annual awards ceremony followed by a dance party.
  • Student Congress. Our annual student board member election and governing resolution process invites all SSDP members to participate in defining their SSDP.
  • And more. An alumni gathering, regional meetups, networking meals, and other events offer nearly non-stop opportunities to connect with advocates and leaders of the drug policy reform movement.

The HepHIV2017 is the second European conference to bring together the fields of HIV and viral hepatitis on earlier diagnosis of the two related conditions.
HIV in Europe has had a long lasting aim of improving testing and linkage to care, and in addition to 2017 marking 10 years of HIV in Europe it is also the final year of the OptTEST by HiE project. The various work packages in OptTEST have been working on different areas of improving testing and linkage to care, and results from what they have been working on will be presented during the HepHIV 2017 Conference.
All registrations and abstract submissions for the conference must be submitted through the online registration system. Before you can register, you need to create a conference profile from which you can enter the registration system.