Societal stigma and punitive legal frameworks often severely impede key populations’ rights to raise families free from interference and discrimination. The experiences of key population groups (gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, and transgender people) are diverse, and are informed by varying levels of criminalisation, stigma and discrimination, and individual factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, race, and health status. This paper explores these challenges, and provides recommendations for policymakers.
This Policy Brief is a joint effort by three global key population-led networks (INPUD, MPact, and NSWP) to bring attention to the lived experiences of key populations and their families, and highlight the ways that stigma and discrimination inform these experiences. The Policy Brief is available here.
A Community Guide is also available here. It provides an overview of the full Policy Brief, and provides key recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders. As with the Policy Brief, this paper is a collaborative effort between the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights (formerly MSMGF) and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP).
International Drug Users’ Day is a deeply important day for our communities, and for INPUD as a network. The injustices inflicted upon the drug using community all over the world continue. If human rights are to be respected and defended, and if health is to be truly prioritised, then prohibition, and the so-called ‘war on drugs’, must end. As we have insisted, again and again, their dismantling must be led by those so catastrophically impacted by this senseless war: people who use drugs themselves.
- Read our International Drug Users' Day Statement here.
- Download our Poster for International Drug Users' Day 2018 here.
‘Taking stock: A decade of drug policy’ evaluates the impacts of drug policies implemented across the world over the past decade, using data from the United Nations (UN), complemented with peer-reviewed academic research and grey literature reports from civil society: the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) has produced this Shadow Report, to contribute constructively to high-level discussions on the next decade in global drug policy. Importantly, the report highlights:
- A 145% increase in drug-related deaths over the last decade, totalling a harrowing 450,000 deaths per year in 2015.
- At least 3,940 people executed for a drug offence over the last decade, with 33 jurisdictions retaining the death penalty for drug offences in violation of international standards.
- Around 27,000 extrajudicial killings in drug crackdowns in the Philippines.
- More than 71,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2017 alone.
- A global pain epidemic, resulting from restrictions in access to controlled medicines, which have left 75% of the world’s population without proper access to pain relief.
- Mass incarceration fuelled by the criminalisation of people who use drugs – with 1 in 5 prisoners incarcerated for drug offences, mostly for possession for personal use.
This is the first community-driven evaluation of the outcomes of Portugal’s decriminalisation of people who use drugs. Introduced in 2001, Portugal’s model of decriminalisation has been hugely influential and is frequently referred to as an example of legislative reform that has improved public health, social order, and the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs. This document builds on INPUD’s Consensus Statement on Drug Use Under Prohibition: Human Rights, Health, and the Law. Our Consensus Statement collates a declaration of 10 rights of people who use drugs that are commonly violated. In order to realise these fundamental human rights, INPUD emphasised a list of 24 demands which must be met, the first of which is decriminalisation: “People who use drugs, and drug use, must be decriminalised.” Our Consensus Statement was driven by global consultations with representatives of drug user rights organisations all over the world, and their emphasis on the importance of decriminalising both drug use and people who use drugs was consistently and vocally articulated. This document therefore demonstrates the outcomes, both the positives and the shortcomings, of Portugal’s model of decriminalisation. Importantly, it establishes that Portugal’s decriminalisation of people who use drugs is not – as is claimed – a full decriminalisation.