Grassroots drug user organising

In January 1981, the Junkiebond was formed as an advocacy and activist drug user group based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. As early as 1981, Junkiebond started an underground needle and syringe programme (NSP) with the aim of protecting people who inject drugs from hepatitis B. They took an activist approach campaigning for effective services for drug users, challenging discrimination and defending human rights.

The Junkiesbond closed in the late 1980s, but its influence remains strong with groups like Respect in the UK and Chemical Reaction in Edinburgh Scotland embracing the grassroots approach. These groups again operate primarily through peer networks, are often well integrated and engaged with drug supply (dealing) networks, and run a whole array of mutual aid functions. These can include advocacy with drug treatment providers, peer education, secondary or peer-led needle and syringe programmes, legal advocacy and consumer advocacy with local drug suppliers.

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Ari Herzog