Barcelona Declaration: The Drug War is a War on Womxn Who Use Drugs

In February 2019, more than 40 womxn from Europe and Central Asia met in Barcelona to work together on intersectional feminism, drug policy, harm reduction and human rights. This is where the Barcelona Declaration was initiated...


The Barcelona Declaration


On International Women’s Day 2019, we declare that the War On Drugs is a war on Womxn Who Use Drugs


The War On Drugs is racist, sexist, classist and heterosexist, and disproportionately affects womxn of colour, youth and womxn in poor communities.

As womxn, trans and gender non-conforming people surviving this war, we reject the widespread stigma, discrimination and criminalisation we face in our daily lives. We call for complete reform and transformation of the current system of prohibition. We call for an end to the ignorant and negative rhetoric.

Drug treatment services are gendered, classed, sexualised and racialised. Drug ‘treatment’ itself is based on spurious and outdated research, and allows unbridled and unregulated power over the individual. We reject these methods and the ideologies underpinning them.

Global and systemic oppressions violate our rights, as womxn, trans and gender non-conforming people who use drugs, and situate us in multiple, interconnected, vulnerable positions, which lead to numerous harms:


  • As womxn who inject drugs, we have a higher prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis than men. Despite this, we don’t appear in data and endure discrimination and exclusion from social and health services. The few resources we have tend to be masculinised and inaccessible as well as often not meeting our needs, interests or expectations.  
  • We are disproportionately impacted by structural violence and social control from the State (policing, limited access to legal aid, extortion, long prison sentences, rape, extrajudicial murder and capital punishment).
  • The majority of womxn in prison are sentenced for non-violent drug related offences. Womxn of colour, ethnic minorities, non-binary or trans, and the homeless are particularly targeted. In several countries, we face detention in compulsory, unregulated ‘treatment” centres , often for indefinite periods with little or no access to judicial processes. Incarceration in closed settings creates a context for increased human rights violations, such as rape and extortion.
  • We often experience endemic violence  and exclusion within our own communities and families. Not only are we more likely to be assaulted by our partners, but we are less likely to have recourse to justice and protection
  • We suffer intrusion into our bodily and physical integrity, maternal and family life and domestic space. We face routine violations of our sexual and reproductive health rights, by both community and state such as coerced sterilization  and pregnancy termination.
  • Stigma that assumes womxn who use drugs cannot take care of their children and misinformation on the effects of drug use feeds into strong pressures to end pregnancy. When we don’t terminate our pregnancies, there’s a strong possibility we will lose  custody of our children.
  • Those of us who are sex workers, and especially trans womxn and womxn living with disabilities cope with an unacceptable and compounded web of stigma, discrimination and social exclusion.


Despite living with these and other multiple forms of violence daily, Womxn Fighting back Against the War On Drugs are resourceful, enterprising, creative and strong. We possess remarkable resilience. We fight back against prohibition with solidarity, mutual support and leadership, building our networks from the grassroots to the global, from immediate action to long-term strategies to end this war on womxn who use drugs. We embrace intersectional and anti-prohibitionist feminism that integrated queer/trans-inclusive and non-ableist approaches, racial justice and the right to use drugs and experience pleasure. We work to reclaim our bodily sovereignty, including rights to the full range of sexual and reproductive health, gender-sensitive health services, and rights to use drugs. We do not ask for charity but for solidarity.  We demand to live in safety and freedom.

This declaration is an invitation to join forces with womxn like us, womxn who demand an end to the War on Drugs and the negative impact it has on all our lives.

“Let us all cause some trouble and begin to change the world with and for women who use drugs with our powerful conceptual armaments in hand.” Elizabeth Ettorre

Our bodies – our choice, our rights, our voice.

#narcofeminism #femdrug

The following groups / organisations support this declaration:

1. Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA)
2. Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN)
4. Metzineres. Environments of Shelter for Womxn who Use Drugs Surviving Violences
5. XADUD. Network of Womxn who Use Drugs
6. REMA. Network of Anti-Prohibitionist Women
7. ARSU – Grup de Dones
8. FAAAT think & do tank
9. Pla d’accions sobre drogues de Reus
10. European Institute for Multidisciplinary Studies on Human Rights and Science | Knowmad Institut
11. Iglesia Evangélica Protestante de El Salvador (IEPES)
12. Youth RISE
13. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
14. International Network of Women who use Drugs (INWUD)
15. PeerNUPS
16. Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy
17. Género y Drogodependencias (Madrid)
18. Perempuan Pengguna NAPZA Indonesia dan Deklarasi Jenggala
19. Agência Piaget para o Desenvolvimento – APDES
20. CASO Portugal
21. European Network of People Who Use Drugs – EuroNPUD
22. NGO Re Generation
23. Youth Organisation For Drug Action
24. WeCanna-Weedgest
25. REMA
26. PeNUPS
27. Life Quality Improvement Organisation FLIGHT
28. AFEW International
29. Društvo AREAL
30. “Harmreduction network” association.
32. En Plenas Facultades
33. Delhi Drug User Forum
34. Association Margina
35. ARAS – Romanian Association Against AIDS
36. AKUT Foundation, Hungary
37. ALE “Kazakhs Union of People Living with HIV”
38. Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS
39. Hepminus
40. Crew
41. Kosmicare Association
42. COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program (Canada)
43. Jane Lane
45. ARSU
46. Toronto Overdose Prevention Society
47. Help Not Harm
48. Youth RISE
49. AIVL
50. PeNUPS
51. GAKNI – Gerakan Advokasi Kebijakan Napza Indonesia (Indonesia Drug Policy Advocacy
52. Movement)
53. Nepal for Public Health
54. Indonesia Drug Policy Reform
55. GO “All- Ukrainian network of Ukrainiane Users”
56. Global Inklusi Perlindungan AIDS
57. Confederación de federaciones cánnabicas (ConFAC)
58. New Taskon padang
59. Federación de asociaciones Cannàbicas de Cataluña (CatFAC)
60. Italian Network of People Who Use Drugs – ItaNPUD
61. Perempuan Bersuara
62. Gerakan Advokasi Kebijakan NAPZA Indonesia (GAKNI) / Indonesia Drugs Policy Advocacy
63. Forum Akar Rumput Indonesia (FARI) / Grass-Roots Indonesian Forum
64. Aksi Keadilan Indonesia (AKI) / Indonesian Justice Action
65. Persaudaraan Korban NAPZA Bogor (PKN Bogor) / Bogor Drug User Community
66. Drugs Policy Reform (DRP) Banten, Indonesia
67. Forum Droghe (IT)
68. TaNPUD
70. Salamander Trust
71. Stop Overdose Now
73. Real People Real Vision
74. Asia Catalyst
76. EHPV
78. LGBT organization Labrys
79. Club “Svitanok”, Ukraine
82. Rights Reporter Foundation
83. Komunitas perempuan pengguna napza Pekanbaru (comunity women who use drugs Pekanbaru)

To add your organisation’s name to the signatories or to keep in touch – please complete this form.