Support don’t punish
The so called “war on drugs” has failed. Despite its stated intentions, it has failed to reduce drug abuse and crime. In response, many organisations, health workers and community leaders are supporting approaches that prioritise health – providing medical or mental health support to help people address problematic drug use.
We are involved in a project dedicated to harm reduction, and we’re going further. Rather than focusing on one area, for example providing healthcare support to help people overcome addictions, our facility provides holistic support.
At every stage, we promote harm reduction over criminalisation. We work alongside the police to test street drugs for accurate dosage and contaminants to prevent overdosing or poisoning. We provide medical and mental health support as people address drug addiction, and when people have contracted HIV through drug use. Meanwhile, we fund a childcare service so parents receiving treatment can have their children looked after until the family is ready to be reunited.
Effective policies and programmes must look at the bigger picture, including the wider causes and consequences of drug addiction, and ensure that people get the support they need and deserve!