By Orsi Féher (SSDP) and Juan Fernández Ochoa (IDPC) / Support. Don't Punish
The latest UNODC World Drug Report estimates that the number of drug-related deaths reached 585,000 in 2017. That’s over 65 deaths every hour. Most of these deaths are related to overdose and untreated hepatitis C, which speaks volumes of the multiple health crises at the heart of drug-related harm. Only 1% of people who inject drugs lives in countries where basic harm reduction services are within adequate reach.
Moreover, these tragic numbers do not account for the trail of pain and death resulting from other forms of violence fuelled by the “war on drugs”: disappearances, police and extra-judicial killings, death penalty executions, arrests, incarceration, lack of access to controlled medicines, among many others.
These harms and these deaths disproportionately impact communities already targeted by intersecting forms of oppression. And they can be reduced and prevented through responses that prioritise health and welfare. These include diverse, effective and accessible harm reduction initiatives and services that respond to community needs.
For the last eight years, Support. Don’t Punish campaigners across the globe have mobilised with this purpose, advocating for drug policies and narratives that centre human rights and dignity. For the benefit of all in our communities.