City: Abuja, Adamawa, Awka, Calabar, Enugu, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Keffi, Lagos, Owerri, Uyo
Organisations:Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network Nigeria. With Drug Free and Preventive Healthcare organization, Taimako Health Support Initiative, Charity Heart for Good Health Initiative, Youthrise Nigeria, Heroes Health Community Support Initiative, Global Health and Social Awareness Foundation, Mistletoes Community Health and Rights Initiative, Autamaimasa Foundation, Youth Awake for Better Society, Health Action Support Initiative, Initiative for Youth Development Change in Nigeria.
Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network Nigeria, the drug user network in Nigeria comprising sixteen (16) drug user led organizations in 13 states of Nigeria organized the “Support Don’t Punish” event in Nigeria. The event was to draw attention to the wide spread stigmatisation and discrimination of people who use drugs occasioned by drug policies that are not evidence-based and violates the rights of drug users as people. The theme adopted for the event was; “WE ARE PEOPLE; SUPPORT DON”T PUNISH”. The event was supported by funding agencies, National NGOs and Government Agencies. The event was planned to bring together members of the public, stakeholders and drug users in a space where interactions and activities could be jointly carried out; as a strategy for reducing stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs and help draw support for advocacy for change of drug policies to policies that are rooted in “Human Rights, Science and Public health”.
City: Abeokuta, Delta State, Ibadan, Kogi, Lagos
Organisations: Students for Sensible Drug Policy – Nigeria
In Abeokuta, SSDP Nigeria organised several educational talks on the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic campus that focused on human rights, mental health, harm reduction, and why stigmatisation is harmful to people who use drugs. The team also spend the previous day participating in a street rally that included participation by law enforcement officials and representatives of the state Ministry of Health.
In Delta State, SSDP members conducted an educational seminar with high school students modelled after the Just Say Know Peer Education program, continuing the drug education campaign that has been very successful in Nigeria this year.
In Ibadan, SSDP members engaged in a walk to commemorate victims of drug overdose. They invited community members to discuss drug misuse with SSDP students and talk about why the misuse of drugs should be viewed as a medical issue rather than a criminal issue.
In Kogi, there was a campus march and members also discussed 911 Good Samaritan Policies with students, emphasising the need to help people who use drugs get treatments without the threat of incarceration.
In Lagos, SSDP members went to the Lagos State Youth Parliament where they engaged in discussions about youth-centered drug policies with representatives of the local government. Students got media attention as they stood outside the Parliament building in SSDP shirts while holding Support Don’t Punish signs.
City: Kogi State
Organisations: Student for sensible drug policy, Student for liberty.
We had a seminar where we educated students on the hazards of drug abuse and also let drug abusers know they should be loved and cared for rather than been brutalized and punished. Later on we embarked on what we called ‘sensible trek’ where we raised awareness for a sensible drug policy (SSDP).
“It was an exciting one for me, having to speak with young students in Secondary School about drug policies and the need to support the campaign “Don’t Punish”. Having to answer their questions and explain more on the importance of having and implementing sensible drug policies was an experience for me”.