The lives of people who use drugs mean death, prison, disease, stigma and discrimination, lack of access to treatment and employment, destroyed families, and children taken away. This is the story of human rights activists and RuNPUD (Russian Speaking Network of People Who Use Drugs) from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region, from the series of “People by Right” videos.
Many of them talk about their lives and their experiences of state repression as people who use drugs. They have gone through harassment, trials, prisons, torture, HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and more.
They were lucky; they survived and found their personal happiness. But these are only a few compared to the millions who have died in prisons, of disease and general indifference and hatred during the war on drugs, which is in fact the war on people. This all might not have happened if the state and society had recognised human rights as the basic foundation of life, and all people as “People by Right.”
What is needed today in the EECA region is an expansion of the list of alternatives of incarceration, a change in law enforcement practices for people who use drugs, the use of evidence-based and World Health Organization (WHO) recommended treatment and rehabilitation methods, etc.
Human rights activists and RuNPUD activists advocate for reform of the anti-drug law. It is important both for the state and society, and for the millions of people who use drugs whose lives could have turned out differently.