From Street to Government

Harm Reduction Consortium three-year project

EHRN and ENPUD, supported by RCNF funding through the Harm Reduction Consortium, have produced a short video documenting the project “From Street to Government”. This three-year project, started in January 2016, has an overall goal to lower the HIV transmission among people who use drugs by promoting harm reduction, human rights and supportive policy environments. The project covers eight Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) member countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Russia, and compliments the existing Street Lawyer program in some of these countries.

Human dignity of people who use drugs

Drawing on 176 cases to document and call attention to the suffering, hopelessness and violated human dignity faced by people who use drugs in the region, “From Street to Government” shows the work street lawyers undertake and the local and national challenges they are facing. From criminalisation, to access to pain and evidence based drug treatment at hospitals, these cases outline why the work of the Harm Reduction Consortium is important in protecting people who use drugs and their human rights in the region against laws on drugs that though thought to protect public health and social stability actually have the opposite effect.

Decriminalisation and human rights

Armed with this documentation, the street lawyers, EHRN and the country coordinating mechanism (CCM) leaders of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries have developed a plan for 2017: a shift from individual activities of street lawyers to small grants for community groups and organisations.; using international platforms to call attention to the problems faced by people who use drugs in the region; write alternative reports based on the data collected in 2016; and look to influence the policies on drugs in the EECA countries – with the intention to decriminalise people who use drugs and ensure their access to health care is upheld.

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