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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Support, don’t punish women who use drugs

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IDPC argues that women drug users experience greater stigma and discrimination, as they are often perceived to be ‘fallen women’. Their lack of decision-making power and economic resources, as well as vulnerability to physical and sexual violence heightens the risk of HIV, Hep C and other blood-borne viruses.

#supportdon’tpunish

The International Drug Policy Consortium is calling a Global Day of Action on 26 June 2015, calling on UN agencies, governments and community leaders to take action in addressing the harmful consequences of the war on drugs on women’s lives.

The IDPC has published the infographic below to publicise the fact that although women who use drugs make up approximately one-third of the population that uses drugs, the needs, interests and voices of women who use drugs are consistently neglected and sidelined in policies, programming and harm reduction services.

sdp

 

IDPC argues that women drug users experience greater stigma and discrimination, as they are often perceived to be ‘fallen women’. Their lack of decision-making power and economic resources, as well as vulnerability to physical and sexual violence heightens the risk of HIV, Hep C and other blood-borne viruses.

Where harm reduction services do exist, they are not tailored to the particular needs and realities of women. Many existing services lack structured support systems and are not integrated with sexual and reproductive health and other social support services.

A disproportionate number of women are punished for being drug users – the number of women incarcerated for drug offences in the United States has increased by 800% over 30 years, At the same time only, 0.003% of women who inject drugs in Eastern Europe accessing opiate substitution therapy.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter via the #supportdontpunish hashtag – see below:

 


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