By AWID

Drug policy and feminist movements have rarely been connected - but they should be.
Over the past two years, AWID has been working closely with communities of women who use drugs to build solidarity and learn from each other. We learned several things through this process. The war on drugs is clearly a feminist issue because it disproportionately affects historically oppressed groups already at a higher risk of violence and repression. It is critical for feminist movements to understand the gendered, racial and class aspects of repressive drug policies, including the criminalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs. We also need to do more to build solidarity and connections with drug policy and harm reduction movements.

Our new report “Feminist movements and women resisting the war on drugs” documents our experience of how feminists can learn from, support and engage with communities of women who use drugs.

What a world without the war on drugs would look like

The article below brings together writers from across different movements and regions. We asked each of them to reflect on what a world beyond the war on drugs would look like in the contexts they work and live in. Imagining a world beyond the war on drugs visibilises the hugely destructive impact the war on drugs has on communities around the world and encourages us to start reimagining a world beyond stigma, criminalisation, incarceration and violence. The contributions below bring perspectives from Indigenous and other communities using psychoactive plants for healing purposes, workers who cultivate and harvest illegalised crops, Black feminists who organise against the prison system and criminalisation, and women who explore pleasure and cognitive autonomy through using drugs. All of these communities are impacted by repressive drug policies in different ways, but all of them also know that to achieve justice, we need to see an end to the war on drugs.

What a world without the war on drugs would look like
Imagine a world beyond the war on drugs, beyond stigma, criminalisation, incarceration and violence. Communities growing opium as a medicine and for traditional and cultural use. Black youth and women constructing new models of drug policy and repairing the damage caused by the war on drugs. Care through harm reduction is provided to individuals and communities who have suffered violence. Imagine a world where women and all people enjoy autonomy over their bodies and minds. Where people can choose their own path and receive the medical care it entails.

We asked contributors from across different movements and regions to reflect on what a world beyond the war on drugs would look like in the contexts they work and live in.