Thursday, April 10, 2003

The Thai Drug Users' Network is a group of individuals who use or have used drugs

We have come together to respond to the deplorable health and human rights situation of drug users in our country, and in particular the current climate of fear caused by the extrajudicial killing of people allegedly involved with drugs.

The HIV and hepatitis epidemics in our community are out of control, yet the public health response has been negligible. Many of our friends have died because of a lack of information about health, or the denial of care and treatment.

We are rejected by our families and friends and discriminated against in the legal system - society treats us as criminals, not human beings. The lack of accurate information about drugs in the media and elsewhere leads to severe misunderstanding among the public and ultimately to debilitating stigmatization. We reject the idea that our lives are worthless and that drug users are disposable

We believe in the power of the people, and are committed to putting our energy and experience together to address the needs of our community, and to push the government and non-government agencies to confront the barriers to equal rights for drug users.

Today we demand the government to:

1. Immediately stop the killing. Repeal laws and policies that allow people to be murdered with impunity. Conduct investigations into all prior deaths under the government's War on Drugs.

2. Immediately ensure the involvement of drug users (active and former) in the development of all policies and programs that affect our lives.

3. Conduct public education campaigns which promote a positive awareness about the realities of drug use and desist from using a Just Say No approach.

4. Create a supportive social, political and legal environment for the implementation of and access to a range of quality harm reduction programs to address the diverse needs of drug users, including the provision of clean needles.

5. Repeal mandatory HIV testing and compulsory drug treatment laws. Drug users must have access to voluntary HIV counseling and testing services and be supported to enter drug treatment at will.

6. Cover the cost of drug treatment, including substitution, antiretroviral and other relevant therapies, under our national health plan.

7. Remove discrimnatory policy and practice, which currently prohibits active drug users from accessing health care and treatment including antiretroviral therapy.

8. Provide health and social services that are gender sensitive and incorporate the needs of the family and community as well as the individual.

By Thai Drug Users Network posted 10 April 03

Chiang Mai
Contact: Nong 09-811-6406,
Wut 01-909-5341,
Wee 01-700-5288


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