Globally, accurate reproductive and sexual health (SRH) information and support tailored for and of relevance to women who use drugs, are largely absent. It is increasingly understood that misleading and inaccurate information from health workers delivered to women who use drugs is driven by criminalization of drug use with associated stigma, discrimination and/or capacity shortfalls.
This year, with the 25 th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, we remember the aim that all women (including those who use drugs) can have “ … the possibility of realizing their full potential in society and shaping their lives in accordance with their own aspirations”. Further, we were prompted to “Promote and protect all human rights of women …”. Governments agreed and committed to “ …uphold the human rights of all women and to protect and preserve their sexual and reproductive health and rights”.
Research has shown that heath workers may be motivated to provide misleading and incorrect information to women who use drugs and others, in order to dissuade what they judge to be ‘unhealthy’ or illegal practices. It is also understood that in medical and para-medical student curricula, the non-medical circumstances of people who use drugs are usually under-addressed, if addressed at all.