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SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH Global Day of Action: a focus on women who use drugs [26/6/19]

Summaries of some of the actions planned across the world for SDP 2019, with a focus on women who use drugs (WUDs). An updated summary of events can be accessed here.


Mauritius: women who use drugs

We women using in Mauritius are proposing:

  • To send a position paper to the government of Mauritius highlighting the issues faced by WUD and ask for a review of policies.  
  • To hold a focus group 
  • To run a media campaign with Mauritius National TV (MBC TV) to sensitize the general population on the Global day of Action 
  •  To hold a Press conference with WUDs, Mauritian Network of People Who Use Drugs (MauNPUD) and allies with different national and private media coverage, as well as the Ministry of Health, Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) members. 

This is a first for WUD in Mauritius, to support and promote harm reduction services which are specific to women in our community.  


USA: Urban Survivors Union

Urban Survivors Union has 3 main chapters and over 20 affiliate groups located across the country.  We are a women’s led group committed to building the power and visibility of women who use drugs in the US.  

  • We plan to host events on June 26that as many sites as possible (7 minimum). 
  • We will host an advertised webinar which will be played at our sites on the Drug user Day of action, recorded and widely disseminated. We will highlight women who use drugs from all around the country and connect our national issues with issues women are facing around the world.  
  • We anticipate engaging news and press in at least 5 of our union locations.  
  • We will use facebook, twitter, and social media to play short videos and pictures highlighting women who use drugs using campaign signs, posters and talking points.  


Ukraine – Club ENEY

Club ENEY will create an advocacy video clip with stories from WUD. 

Women will use story telling about the importance of harm reduction services in their lives with messages to support WUD and stop violence. The heroes of the clip are WUD and we have an all women team including camerawoman and director. WUD will dress in orange SDP t-shirts with “Women fighting back against the war on drug users – support and solidarity” in Russian on back of the t-shirts. 

The video will be shared on Facebook, NGO sites, PUD elists in EECA region, YouTube.


Indonesia – Bekasi

In Bekasi City, among more than 70 members of a Women who Use Drugs Organisation, almost half have served time in prison. Until now they regularly received stigma and discrimination and have many true stories about all forms of violence and pressure, both outside and inside prison. We will use this campaign to stress that we as Women who Use Drugs need policies that can stop all forms of violence and discrimination against us.

This event will involve:

  • March to Bekasi City Government Office
  • Public discussion abouthuman rights for Women who Use Drugs (involving members of the women who use drugs community and policy makers)
  • Booth /Free legal Consultation corner
  • A guest star


Australia: CAHMA 


The following activities are included throughout the month (culminating on 26th June with an art exhibition ):

  • Woman are invited to bring their favourite orange items—clothes, shoes, jewellery, umbrellas, scarfs for the purpose of personalizing the space and as symbols of people’s everyday lives which are heavily impacted by bad drug policy 
  • Women are invited to write anonymously (inside the paper cut-out female silhouettes)  their stories and messages about the impact that war on drugs has on their lives  
  • WOMEN FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE WAR ON DRUGS photo shoot with CAHMA workers, clients, visitors and supporters    

See: CAHMA Global Day of Action


Portugal – CASO

This campaign will meet us as immersed in a process of building up WUD community activity.  We will develop some personalised campaign materials – t-shirts and posters – through a workshop on simple printing techniques for fabric and paper, using the global WUD campaign image and the Portuguese version of the slogan “Women fighting back against the war on drug users – support and solidarity”, encouraging personal composition using those basic elements.

The customization of a t-shirt or a poster is not only an act of creation but also an opportunity for appropriation of the personal meaning of such a campaign, the sense of being a woman fighting back against the war on drugs.



“Support Don’t Punish” is a global grassroots-centred initiative in support of harm reduction and drug policies that prioritise public health and human rights. The campaign seeks to put harm reduction on the political agenda by strengthening the mobilisation capacity of affected communities and their allies, opening dialogue with policy makers, and raising awareness among the media and the public.

Building from a growing consensus among women who use drugs globally, today June 26, “Support Don’t Punish” day is also being used to highlight the demands of women who use drugs. Organisations and groups worldwide are collaborating to highlight the need to end violence against women who use drugs and improve drug policies for women from a health and harm reduction perspective.

We call for urgent attention to the following demands:

  • Immediately abolish capital punishment, extrajudicial killings, compulsory treatment, drug user registration systems, and punishment for use of drugs in pregnancy while prioritising decriminalisation
  • Allocate resources and long term funding to services and networks that are led by and meaningfully involve women who use drugs and that are based around care, compassion and individual autonomy
  • Create gender responsive comprehensive services and policy environments that are non-judgemental, non-discriminatory, safe, relevant and supportive for women who use drugs in all their diversity
  • Uphold the right to autonomy over the bodies of women who use drugs including choices around substance use
  • Implement mechanisms for prevention of violence and support for women who use drugs who are subject to violence
  • The use of drugs must never justify the invasion or disruption of women’s privacy, family or domestic life
  • End the distortion of facts that surround drug use and pregnancy and coercive campaigns of abortion and sterilisation
  • Gender mainstream on research and data. Women who use drugs are the experts on their lives and must be a key part of research, planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of any policy or derived action that affects them.


WHRIN hope these great actions help to motivate other groups to use SDP energy to also focus on issues affecting women who use drugs.

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