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 Drug ‘treatment’ itself is based on spurious and outdated research, and allows unbridled and unregulated power over the individual.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.
The following groups / organisations support this declaration:
1. Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) 2. Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN) 3. COUNTERfit 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. 31. CA PRIMA 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 44. ASAUPAM 45. ARSU 46. Toronto Overdose Prevention Society 47. Help Not Harm 48. AIVL 49. PeNUPS 50. Frontline AIDS 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 69. SALVAGE 70. Salamander Trust 71. Stop Overdose Now 72. CF “VIRTUS” 73. Real People Real Vision 74. Asia Catalyst 75. Romanian Harm Reduction Network 76. EHPV 77. CHECK!N 78. LGBT organization Labrys 79. Club “Svitanok”, Ukraine 80. RELEASE 81. SANANIM 82. Rights Reporter Foundation 83. Komunitas perempuan pengguna napza Pekanbaru (comunity women who use drugs Pekanbaru) 84. Steps 85. EATG (European AIDS Treatment Group) 86. PREKURSOR Foundation for Social Policy 87. Harm Reduction International 88. STOP AIDS, ALBANIA 89. Odyseus 90. Kosmicare Association 91. Sexism Free Night 92. Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) 93. Andrey Rylkov Foundation 94. InMouraria-GAT 95. Drug Policy Network South East Europe 96. NORML France 97. Women in Europe and Central Asian Regions plus (WECARe+) 98. Élixir 99. Canadian Drug Policy Coalition 100. 4yourvoiceportugal 101. Legalize Belarus 102. SimplementeOpinión 103. India HIV/AIDS Alliance 104. Estonian Association of People who Use psychotropic substances „Lunest“ 105. SALVAGe 106. TaNPUD 107. Women Who Use Drugs Malaysia 108. Polish Drug Policy Network 109. Indigo Harm Reduction Services 110. NGO Volunteer ( Tajikistan GBAO) 111. CATNPUD. Catalan Network of People who Use Drugs 112. NGO “RIGHT OF EVERYONE” 113. New Generation Humanitarian NGO / Armenia (NGNGO) 114. Občianske združenie Prima 115. I am Kogan Julia, the leader of the community of people living with drug addiction in the city of Odessa. 116. NGO “April Project” 117. ICEERS Foundation 118. Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs 119. Asian Harm Reduction Network Myanmar