We worked with the Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN), to plan, research, write and publish this new position paper on the topic of young women and drug use. This position paper also contains recommendations to guide governments and policy makers to better address the unique needs of young women who use drugs. We put together a working group of 10 women drawn from the membership of both of our organizations, based in 10 different countries across the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

This paper sets out the core issues and recommendations relating specifically to young women who use drugs. Young women and girls who are affected by punitive drug policy face unique age-related as well as gender-specific risks, barriers and rights violations that are not well recognized or responded to by policymakers or service providers. These intersectional inequities are particularly evident when facing societal expectations, when accessing harm reduction and health care services including sexual and reproductive health services, when navigating the illicit drug market and when in contact with the criminal justice system.

We released this paper on International Youth Day, read here, and share to ensure it can be utilized for future advocacy.