Support to self-organisations

One approach to community activism is by agencies supporting the creation of a user group or other user-driven advocacy group. This type of initiative allows drug users to drive the agenda and identify campaigns that reflect their priorities.

Whether an agency decides to support or even initiate a user union or take another community-driven approach to advocacy, it will be essential for community members to be involved in the planning process and that their voices and concerns remain front and central in the new plans.

“Our experience in the peer project INPAR shows us that the contributions of the peer work can serve as a lever to the realisation and continuity of other peer initiatives. It reduce the stigmatization of the drug users and, at the same time, give back to the drug users a sense of self-esteem, self-efficacy, by turning their life experience into useful competencies/learning’s.  So, we can demonstrate that it works and give examples to the organizations/professionals of what they can win with the peer work”.

Susana Peixoto, APDES, Portugal