Activists from the United States look back on the history of the movement of people who use drugs in the fifth episode of the documentary series produced by INPUD and Drugreporter.
In the country where the drug war was born, people who use drugs have fought for their dignity and human rights for decades. They have achieved the legalisation of needle and syringe exchanges in many states, successfully campaigned for hepatitis C treatment, and fought hard against the extremely harsh criminalisation of drug use around the US. In the US last year 70 thousand people died of overdose, and it is activists who, with the leadership of Dan Bigg, have made naloxone widely available. There is even an underground safer consumption facility somewhere in the United States, which is saving lives at this very moment.
In today’s episode you can witness the oral history of the users’ movement, as told by Louise Vincent from the Urban Survivors Union (USU), Hollis, who for a long time worked at the San Francisco Drug Users Union, and from Robert Suarez, who is a long-time activist at VOCAL-NY and USU.
Starting on Monday, 6th of July 2020, we publish one episode per week for 10 weeks. The episodes follow the timeline of the development of the movement of people who use drugs from Amsterdam to Afghanistan and globally.
The production of the series has been a great adventure. We conducted 34 video interviews in 20 countries around the world. 8 interviews were filmed by the Rights Reporter Foundation, the rest by members of our Drugreporter Video Advocacy Network, video activists, and freelance videographers worldwide.
The documentary series is part of the online conference “HIV 2020: Community Reclaiming the Global Response” which runs from July through October of 2020.
An alliance of global key population-led networks, networks of people living with HIV, treatment activists, and our supporters, has formed to organize an alternative international community-led online event.
The HIV2020 alliance has decided to organize the community-led event to provide an alternative for individuals who cannot or will participate in the AIDS2020 virtual conference. Its goal is to offer new opportunities to reaffirm the leading role communities play in the global HIV response.
To view each new episode every Monday, beginning today, visit this page.
This project was made possible by the financial support of the Bridging the Gaps Programme. This unique programme addresses the common challenges faced by sex workers, people who use drugs and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in terms of human rights violations and accessing much-needed HIV and health services. Go to www.hivgaps.org for more information.
Special thanks goes to Tonny van Montfoort, EuroNPUD representative on the INPUD Board, for driving this oral history project forward and setting out the creative vision.
István Gábor Takács