‘Support. Don’t punish’ is a campaign that aims to stop HIV by calling for reform of government actions on drugs.
Invest in effective HIV responses for people who use drugs
Programmes that are essential for tackling HIV among people who use drugs must achieve the required scale. These include needle and syringe programmes and methadone programmes, antiretroviral treatment services for HIV positive drug users, counselling and other support services to help people adhere to medicines and to build skills and knowledge in changing behaviour, and legal services to defend drug users against discrimination.
Governments must reform drug laws and policies that impose harsh penalties on people who use drugs
This punitive approach has failed to reduce levels of drug use but has increased stigma and discrimination, impeding people’s access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services that are essential to saving lives and curbing the spread of HIV. Criminalising and incarcerating drug users ruins lives and undermines HIV prevention.
The campaign is part of the Community Action on Harm Reduction project, lead by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, which aims to expand harm reduction services to more than 180,000 people who inject drugs, their partners and children in China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Malaysia.
The international ‘day of action’ on 26 June 2013
The ‘Day of Action’ will involve high profile and visually symbolic ‘actions’ that can be coordinated across several key cities around the world – with groups of 100 or more supporters gathering for media photo opportunities etc. They will all be wearing white “SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH” t-shirts, and – in many cities – Richard Nixon face masks. The media will be pre-invited to the event, and will photograph/film the participants for stories to then be carried across international wire agencies and reproduced by subscribing media outlets regionally and globally. The campaign website will include all the resources needed: a campaign toolkit, campaign guidelines, the campaign statement, logos, posters, template media releases, key messages factsheets, risk assessment toolkits, etc.
On 26th June, we will also be encouraging supporters to change their profile pictures on 26th June on Facebook, Twitter, etc. – as well as providing template press releases, etc.
Why 26 June?
This is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day that has historically been used by governments to celebrate the war on drugs – in some cases, even holding public executions of drug offenders as a sign of commitment. But June 26th is also the United Nations’ International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, and this campaign aims to help redefine what June 26th means, and how we look at drug policies around the world.
Why Richard Nixon?
Some 40 years ago, US President Richard Nixon launched a ‘war on drugs’ and was the first high-profile politician to coin this phrase. This ‘war’ has since resulted in the global repression, incarceration, punishment of people who use drugs, and has been used to justify executions, extrajudicial killings, torture, forced treatments and the demonisation of this population. President Nixon´s face is easily recognizable and, as such, will be visually impactful. The fact that the general public (and much of the media) might not associate President Nixon with the ‘war on drugs’ will also help to ensure interest in the campaign. Once the event has been realised, the photo captions in the press will place Nixon, the ‘war on drugs’ and the campaign in context.
Please contact Jamie Bridge (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you:
- would like to be listed as a ‘supporting organisation’ for the campaign – with a logo and link on the website
- would like to participate in, or coordinate, an ‘action’ on June 26th this year
- would like to participate in any other way – including using the SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH branding on your own websites / reports / videos or activities
For more information, please check the microsite of the campaign at http://supportdontpunish.org/ and read the campaign statement below.