All posts tagged INPUD
Posted by Erin on January 19, 2015
ANTHRAX WARNING -including the most up-to-date and well researched guide on the subject of ANTHRAX and the contamination of street heroin -and ARE WE AT RISK? Thanks to INPUD for the information below and their new guide.
OK, so the picture is pretty horrid but it is nothing to how bad an anthrax infection can get -along with it being FATAL for some of our heroin using peers. This is an extremely serious (sometimes fatal) infection that, although still uncommon, it continues to rear its deadly head since it first popped up on the scene a few years back. Now this affects:
INJECTORS of ALL MODES -intravenous AND intramuscular AND subcutaneous (or in street speak, mainlining, and IM (in the muscle like top of arm, front of thigh, or muscle area of bum cheek), or skin popping – right into the fat/skin (not deeper, like into the muscle).
SMOKERS – Yes, you heard right. This also affects heroin smokers.
SWALLOWING – Yep, you read it right. Read the guide for more info on gastrointestinal infection from swallowing or inserting street (anthrax spore infected) heroin (smuggling, hiding internally etc -this concerns you too!)
INPUD (International Network of People who Use Drugs) have thoroughly researched the available information on anthrax spores in our street heroin and how it has been affecting users AND popping up in places across Europe, mainly Britain and have produced a brief (but thorough) guide (PDF) for print out, sharing and dissemination amongst your peers and user groups. See also INPUD’s main website and blog. (copy freely but credit INPUD!)
Just to pull out a few interesting bits, INPUD’s up to date and well researched guide for heroin users and health workers on anthrax can be found here; INPUDanthrax …
Black Poppy lifted some text from INPUD’s excellent guide in order to flesh out the background a bit -and why it should concern us, especially in the UK. INPUD’s Guide states;
“…Subsequent to the crisis in Scotland during 2009/10, where an outbreak of anthrax infected 47 people, causing 14 fatalities; further cases and deaths have been reported this year in Germany, Denmark, and France. Scotland has again been affected, with a confirmed case in Lanarkshire on 24th July this year….
……Although at the time of this publication, no further cases have been reported on the European mainland, anthrax infection continues to infect, hospitalise, and kill heroin users throughout the UK.”
It goes on to say;
“…..The spores found in the heroin responsible for the recent cases in Germany were shown to be indistinguishable from those found in the 2009/10 cases in Scotland. This suggests that the same batch of heroin could be responsible….”
INPUD’s guide goes on to state clearly….
“…Research published subsequent to the 2009/10 outbreak has produced no evidence of nefarious intent, with the heroin likely being contaminated by the use of bone-meal based cutting agents, or contact with animal hides whilst in Turkey, during transit from the Afghan source…”
This is the best guide we have seen on this subject –
Posted by Erin on November 11, 2012
This is a video of the global protest that was held on World AIDS day 2011, in around 12 cities around the world, led by the drug using community and INPUD, the International Network of People who Use Drugs -protesting against to the Russian government’s shameful inaction regarding the drugs and HIV catastrophe unfolding in the region.
Posted by Erin on January 29, 2012
New York City Kicked off the global protest on the eve of World AIDS Day, and were followed by 12 other cities
POST Press Release (please feel free to share this post on your website, but remember to link it back to here! Thanks!)
On World Aids Day, 2011, just a few short days ago, harm reduction organisations led by people who use drugs and supported by the International Network of People who Use Drugs(INPUD) gathered outside Russian embassies in cities across the world in the largest ever global show of solidarity by and for people who use drugs.
The protests, entitled ‘Shame Russia Shame’, was directed at Russia’s highly controversial drug policies which are believed to be driving the EEC regions HIV and TB epidemics. Injecting drugs with contaminated equipment is driving Russia’s HIV epidemic, now the fastest growing in the world and it is reflected in the numbers; as many as 80% of new infections are occurring amongst people who inject drugs (PWID), in a total HIV positive population of approx 1.3million. With this in mind, recent projections forecast an additional 5 million people could become infected with HIV in the near future, unless Russia drastically transforms the way it is dealing with its HIV pandemic.
Erin O’Mara, (editor of UK’s Black Poppy Magazine and INPUD member) who coordinated the global protest said the human catastrophe unfolding in Russia is almost indescribable in its brutality and neglect.”Russia has more heroin users than anywhere in the world yet because they offer no safe alternatives such as methadone or buprenorphine, and corruption has driven the price of heroin above what many Russian users can afford, new home made concoctions like desomorphine (nicknamed krokodil) are gaining ground, with devastating health consequences for the user”. Erin adds, “To scratch the surface of Russian drug policies, you find some of the most brutalizing policies in the world; where their should be harm reduction, regulation, treatment and support, there is neglect, abuse, imprisonment, disease and death.”
New York City groups Harm Reduction Coalition and Vocal NY, led the first of the World Aids Day demos, reading speeches and presenting a statement of demands to the Russian Embassy, which included the demand for Opiate Substitution Therapies (OST) such as methadone to be both legal and accessible to the 2 million or more injecting drug users in Russia.
Mexico soon followed, again on the eve of World AIDS Day, with their protest led by Espolea, an organisation who’s young people delivered their heartfelt candlelight vigil to remember those who have died of AIDS and those with HIV facing so much oppression in the Russian Federation. It was a very generous tribute from our young colleagues in Mexico at a time in the drugs war when they are facing such enormous troubles of their own. (see video below).
As December 1st -and World AIDS Day dawned, the global domino effect began and cities from Canberra, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Berlin, Bucharest, London, Paris, Porto, Stockholm, Tblisi, Toronto, delivered their protests, and a unified SHAME RUSSIA SHAME rang out in front of Russian Embassies across the world.
Speeches were given and a statement of demands were delivered to the Embassies which included demands to see the introduction of Opiate Substitution therapy (OST) and the scale up of needle and syringe programmes, which although currently funded by outside NGO’s and not by the Russian Government, numbers of services are still shockingly inadequate, with around 50 odd for the entire Russian Federation.
The city of Tblisi also took a brave step and protested outside their Swiss Embassy, which currently stands in for the Russian embassy which has been removed from Georgia for political reasons. Nevertheless, Georgians who have also seen the emergence of the drug Krokodil from across the Russian border were keen to show solidarity with their Russian drug using peers, as history has meant they were very aware of the might of the Russian police forces and their attitudes towards drug users. Georgians took a huge risk protesting in Tblisi but seemed buoyed by recent workshops in drug user organising and empowerment and peerwork with INPUD.
Demonstrators had the special opportunity to read out a letter from Russia, from an INPUD member and drug user activist named Alex, who spoke directly to his peers across the world about Russia’s indifference and the strength he gains from a unified drug using community.
Alex writes: “To my despair, I live in a country where the means don’t justify the ends Where it’s easier to save the lives of healthy people by destroying those who are sick. Where ethics and humanity have given way to contempt and cruelty. Where they evaluate prevention not in terms of possibilities and outcomes but dollars and popularity. I express my deepest gratitude to all of you who share my protest. For me, World AIDS Day does not exist in Russia. For me World AIDS Day in Russia means white carnations and condolence cards.I’m alive today thanks to your help and your faith in our united strength. I wish us resilient spirits, and that love fills all of our homes. I’m with you today.”
Demonstrators from the LGBT community also joined London’s embassy protest to add their voices against Russia’s recently passed St Petersberg bill, which, having already passed the first hearing, would severely further restrict the rights of the LGBT community. The oppression and marginalisation of the LGBT community also adds to a difficult environment to disseminate HIV prevention/treatment information. (click here for more info on this issue.)
The global protest was an exciting, moving and empowering event for all concerned, however everyone was acutely aware that Russian themselves were simply not safe enough to protest on World AIDS Day, no matter how peacefully. Although this protest had its roots in Moscow in 2009 on International Drug User Day, when 5 Russian activists were arrested after trying to lay red carnations and white slippers (the Russian symbol for the dead) at the steps of the Drug Control Service, the protest expanded on International Remembrance Day 2011. People in three countries took part, Budapest, Berlin and Barcelona and remembered their peers outside Russian embassies, again laying the symbols of the protest. This world AIDS Day,was a call out to the world that we will not let our Russian peers be forgotten -that we will stand side by side them as we all fight to ensure that Russian citizens have the right to humane, evidenced based, enlightened drug policies and treatment.
For more information and/or quotes from INPUD members and city organisers, please do not hesitate to get in touch with INPUD.
Contact: INPUD Deputy Project Co-ordinatorL firstname.lastname@example.org who can put you in touch with the right person or answer your questions. For more articles on this issue see the protest website at http://russianembassyprotest.wordpress.com
NOTE: A huge thank you to the global coordinators based in London – Women of Substance, Black Poppy Magazine, and Ava Project (London)– -and our partners in Eastern Europe: Andrey Rylkov Foundation, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and all those organisations who took part in this event. INPUD members; Plataforma Drogologica (Barcelona), Deutsch AIDS Hilfe (Berlin), Harm Reduction Coalition, Vocal NY (New York City) ,ASUD, Cannabis Sans Frontiere (Paris), AIVL, NUAA, CAHMA(Canberra) CASOP (Porto) Association Intergration (Bucharest),Svenska Brukarforeningen (Stockholm), New Vector (Tblisi), CounterFit (Toronto) Chemical Reaction (Edinburgh) , Espolea (Mexico City)
Posted by Erin on December 6, 2011
Vodpod videos no longer available.
- Final Founding Statement of EuroNPUD (inpud.wordpress.com)
Posted by Erin on October 11, 2011
Russia’s Aleksey Kurmanaevskiy speech delivered at the UN High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in New York – June 9 2011 by INPUD on Thursday, 09 June 2011 at 18:33:
INPUD is a global peer-based organisation that seeks to promote the health and defend the rights of people who use drugs. We will expose and challenge stigma, discrimination and the criminalisation of people who use drugs and its impact on our community’s health and rights. We will achieve this through processes of empowerment and international advocacy. Find us at: http://www.inpud.net, Facebook/INPUD, Twitter/INPUD. Blog at: http://www.inpud.wordpress.comThe following speech was delivered by Aleksey Kurmanaevskiy at A dialogue on HIV and Human Rights at: Universal Access for Key Affected Populations. This event was hosted by the United Kingdom and the Republic of South Africa together with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. This session took place at the High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS at the United Nations in New York City.
Aleksey is from Russia and is 30 years old. He has been dependent on drugs for 15 years, and has been living with HIV for 11 years. He is a member of the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) and will speak with you today for people who inject drugs, those who are living with HIV\AIDS, and for the members of the drug using community who are no longer with us because of HIV\AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, and drug Overdoses.
Text of Aleksey’s speech:
Q1 – Highlight key challenge or obstacle & successful action or approach:
I would like to call to attention the laws and practices that are based on the criminalization of people who use drugs and the consequences of these measures. In our opinion, the practice of imprisoning people who use drugs in order to deny them their freedom or subjecting them to coerced treatment for the personal use of drugs should be ended. Imprisonment and coerced treatment are clear breaches of human rights that undermine the public health of people who use drugs and the wider community.
The criminalisation of people who use drugs and the widespread stigma and discrimination against our community results in people hiding and living in fear and secrecy. This can cut people off from family support and drives people further into problem drug use. As such, punitive laws can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of HIV prevention strategies with my community and undermine access to and retention in services. As a result, punitive laws are costly and ineffective.
The introduction of science-based harm reduction interventions like needle and syringe programmes, opioid substitution therapy (OST), and overdose management programmes is saving the lives of my community in many countries in the world. We have the experience, the evidence and tools to end concentrated epidemics of HIV among people who inject drugs. 30 years of evidence demonstrates that OST radically improves the health and wellbeing of people who take drugs and supports our engagement in HIV and TB treatment. Significantly OST gives people who are dependent on heroin and other opiate drugs an alternative to crime and allows us to fully participate in and contribute to society. History has shown that when people who use drugs are involved in the design, development and delivery of HIV prevention interventions, the reach is greater, the quality is higher and there is better value for money.
Q2 – 1 or 2 key recommendations to HLM on practical way forward:
I am a husband and father of two sons and very much want peace and mutual understanding within my family. I learned that it is absolutely critical to listen to my loved ones. Before agreeing on a solution, we consider all of the possible alternatives. The very welfare of our family depends upon this process of open dialogue.
I have drawn this analogy deliberately. The family can be viewed as a microcosm of society. We are all members of one global family. Though we all have unique worldviews, customs, and ways of life, there is no doubt that we have to deal with the HIV epidemic together. The foundation of such mutual understanding through dialogue is the first step in this process.
Around the world people who inject drugs are giving sterile injecting equipment to their friends, are sharing education and knowledge and supporting service access. At a global and regional level drug user organisations are supporting consultation and contributing to policy development. At a country level we can provide a community watch dog function helping donors to spend money wisely and programmers to deliver services effectively.
Our challenge to all countries is meaningfully involve people who use drugs in the design, implementation and monitoring of the HIV response. If you are serious about engaging us as true partners then this has include the resourcing of our organisations and the meaningful participation of our representatives. This is key to reversing the trajectory of the HIV epidemic and bringing under control the spiraling costs of HIV. It is time to stop framing my community always as the problem and instead to recognise that we are a key part of the solution to HIV.
- A very brief encounter with a declaration (inpud.wordpress.com)
- INPUD News on the Move (inpud.wordpress.com)
- Are we still on track? UN meeting on HIV and AIDS (passionistsinternational.wordpress.com)
- Alexi Speaks to Governments in New York (inpud.wordpress.com)
- The Civil Society Hearings on HIV/AIDS at the United Nations April 2011 – Part 1 (inpud.wordpress.com)
- Human Rights: A La The European Union Style (donttradeourlivesaway.wordpress.com)
Posted by Erin on June 16, 2011
Check out this brilliant short film by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, – The worlds drug lords went to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at the UN to publicly thank them for 50 years of prohibition – and why not?! It’s made them richer than their wildest dreams…And what do we have to show for the drug policy exported by the US to the rest of the world?? A massive black market that funds crime, violence and wars. Millions of people who use drugs languishing in prisons across the globe, (in many countries drug users make up the majority of the people in prison), 3 million people who inject drugs infected with HIV, millions more with Hepatitis C, murders, corruption, young people on the streets, communities and families torn apart. Of all the trillions of dollars being poured into the war on drugs, and it is this very war that is killing the people it is supposed to be protecting. We need to change our drug policies NOW. But these guys – and the United Nations wouldn’t agree…
Check it out! Well done HCLU. (interviews with HCLU, Youthrise International Network of People who Use Drugs, US Harm reduction Coalition.
Posted by Erin on April 20, 2011