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Introduction to ‘The human rights dimension of drug use and harm reduction’

In this video, Ernst Wisse and Judy Chang introduce the 3rd topic of the MOOC on Harm Reduction and drug use, focussing on the human rights dimension
Hello, this is the third session of five sessions, which means you are about halfway through the course. Harm reduction is often portrayed as a public health intervention, but that would be shortchanging all that it is. It is just as much a movement for social justice and human rights. In fact, the history of harm reduction can be traced back to people demanding their right to remain healthy. You might have found yourself already in a situation where people sometimes even your own friends or family, don’t understand why you’re being so nice to such people. Now, production is not about being nice. It is about fulfilling a human and political obligation to treat everyone equal.
In the first video will lay out how access to harm reduction is in fact part of the human rights declarations. And then the next video will underline how the war on drugs has reinforced all sorts of mechanisms that undermine the rights to access to harm reduction. In most countries, people can be arrested for using drugs. In fact, fifty eight percent of people who inject drugs have had a history of incarceration. Most people in prison are there for non-violent drug related offenses, sometimes just simply for using or possessing small amounts of drugs.
We believe that people who use illicit drugs, whether heroin, cocaine or alcohol, have no business being in a prison and furthermore, that prison systems should make harm reduction services available inside the prison. Related to the right to access health services, we find that women who use drugs have often even less access to already scarce availability. And then at the end of the session, as with all the other sessions, we will provide a field perspective from an amazing human rights lawyer from Indonesia. So we hope that the session will strengthen your perception of how harm reduction is much more than a prevention model or only a set of health services. So enjoy the session.

Welcome to the second week! The first activity of week 2 covers the topic: “The human rights dimension of drug use and harm reduction”. Judy and Ernst give you the outlines of how this topic will be covered in the next steps.

Discussing the human rights dimension is a natural follow-up to the public health perspective in the previous activity. Harm Reduction is not merely a ‘kind way’ of doing things, or just a disease driven response. In fact, it ties seamlessly into the international human rights principles. You will hear how this is the case in relation to access to health, but also through broader principles such as social rights and protection of arbitrary arrest and detention.

This activity also touches on some related areas, such as access to Harm Reduction in prison, the racial dimension of the war on drugs and an exploration of the gender perspective on harm reduction implementation.

You are currently at the first topic of week 2

1. What is Harm Reduction?
2. The public health dimension of drug use and harm reduction
[»]The human rights dimension of drug use and harm reduction
4. The community at the heart of the response
5. Advocating for Harm Reduction
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Drug Use and Harm Reduction

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