This article by Former Constitutional Court Judge, Edwin Cameron, first appeared on GroundUp. Judge Cameron argues: Drug use is a social and health issue. It is not a criminal justice issue.
The South African Network of People Who Use Drugs is mourning the death of Julian Stobbs, one half of the Dagga Couple. Jules was shot during a robbery at the house he shares with the other half of the dagga couple, his partner, Myrtle Clarke in Lanseria. The exact circumstances are unclear, and we will wait for the facts to emerge before making assumptions. No matter what the circumstances, we distance ourselves from the various pieces of misinformation that frame the murder of Jules as part of a "white genocide" and the claims that "white farmers" are being systematically murdered. We also distance ourselves from claims that blame "foreign nationals" and "migrants". We believe that Jules would not have wanted his name linked with these claims. We do deplore the systemic violence, compounded by high levels of state sanctioned violence, that is pervasive in our country.
We pay respect to, and acknowledge, the ground-breaking work done by Jules and Myrtle in the field of drug policy. We were fortunate to be able to follow in their wake and learn from their experiences and lessons they had learned which they willingly shared with us. Three of the SANPUD team were with Jules and Myrtle in Vienna in March at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, where they had had smade their voices heard. They also spoke at the SA Drug Policy Week in 2018 - the videos are here. and their main talk is here : Jules and Myrtle at SA DPW-18.
Please visit the website of the Dagga Couple webpage and the Fields of Green for All webpage.
We mourn the loss of Jules, and the loss of countless comrades who have been murdered during the war on drugs.
The lifting of the prohibition of the sale of alcohol
The South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD) note with alarm the significant size of the crowds that have gathered outside of retail liquor outlets and the celebratory atmosphere accompanying them. On 1st of June 2020, South Africa moved from ‘level 4’ to ‘level 3’ restrictions promulgated by the government in response to the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic.
MJ Stowe | South African Network of People Who Use Drugs
Julie Mac Donnell | South African Drug Policy
Insight into how financial assistance from the IDPC is assisting SANPUD to support street-based people currently withdrawing from opioids.
By MJ Stowe
SANPUD National Advocacy & Regional Coordinator
This article is also available on Talking Drugs and in an edited format in The Cape Times.
Living on the street and not being able to move around is problematic, particularly if there is a need to purchase drugs on a daily basis. Unfortunately, those who are opioid – referred to as nyaope, unga and whoonga – dependent face the challenge of needing daily doses of the drug. Street-based people have to risk being stopped and detained by the police during their journey to acquire drugs, often resulting in dire consequences.
There have also been reports of sellers increasing the prices of their products as well as some people pooling their money, buying greater quantities and then reselling among their communities at an inflated cost.
Harm reduction is not just the nine interventions that form the comprehensive package of health services recommended by the WHO for HIV prevention, treatment and care for people who inject drugs. Harm reduction is a set of principles that can be applied to any potentially harmful activity to reduce risk and related harms. In these times of COVID-19, people delivering essential and life-saving services must take all the precautions they can to reduce their own risk of contracting COVID-19.
Here are some resources that you can use if you want to reduce your levels of alcohol consumption, or even stop drinking alcohol if you want.
The Harm Reduction Abstinence and Moderation (HAMS) site has lots of great advice on how to change your drinking patterns. It includes a programme for moderation with tools such as the moderation cheat sheet, as well as an abstinence cheat sheet depending on your goals. For immediate and free resources go here to access the 17-steps of HAMS, or read more below if you want to know more.
From the HAMS site:
At HAMS we believe that anyone can make positive changes in alcohol or drug use no matter how mild or severe the pattern of use may be. We do not believe that anyone is trapped by a fatal, progressive disease. Rather, we believe that anyone can achieve a resolution of or improvement in substance use via a goal of safer use, reduced use, or total abstinence. Some people may also need the adjunct of psychotherapy and/or psychotropic medications to deal with underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. However, ultimately, HAMS believes that we all have the power within ourselves to get better and that we are not the victims of some mysterious disease that hijacks our brains, leaving us incapable of choice and requiring us to turn our lives over to a higher power. Rather, it is through our choices and our desires that we heal, although it is often hard work and more difficult for some than others. For these reasons, HAMS rejects the "disease" model of addiction and embraces the "choice" model. It is your choices and your hard work - coupled with tools from HAMS and perhaps psychological and/or psychiatric help - that will set you free. And it is your choice, not ours, whether to abstain, moderate, or even enjoy controlled and safe intoxication. Overcoming a substance use problem is like lifting weights: the more you practice, the stronger you get. HAMS is here to empower you - you are not powerless!
Moderation Management Steps of Change workbook is available free here. Moderation Management MM empowers individuals to accept personal responsibility for choosing and maintaining their own path, whether moderation or abstinence. MM promotes early self-recognition of risky drinking behavior, when moderate drinking is a more easily achievable goal. You can read more about their process here and the drinking diary is available here.
Drinking and you is a portal for advice about sensible alcohol consumption, national government guidelines and your health. It does not have South African-specific information, but is helpful none-the-less.