“We are people who use drugs. We are people who have been marginalized and discriminated against; we have been killed, harmed unnecessarily, put in jail, depicted as evil, and stereotyped as dangerous and disposable. Now it is time to raise our voices as citizens, establish our rights and reclaim the right to be our own spokespersons striving for self-representation and self-empowerment.”

– from the Vancouver Declaration.

Established in 2017

SANPUD was established in 2017, with financial, technical and administrative support from the International Network pf People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), Mainline, and TBHIV Care. SANPUD became a registered NGO in 2018, and we aim to support our members, regional networks of people who use drugs, by providing them with financial, logistical, administrative and technical support.

Our Vision

SANPUD envisions a world where 1: people are, most of the time, able to make conscious, well-informed decisions about how and when to use, or not to use, drugs, 2: drug policies do not increase the harms to people who use drugs, restrict access to health care or remove autonomy, and 3: the responses to people who use drugs, do not perpetuate oppression, marginalisation, stigmatisation and economic exclusion..

Our Aim

A South Africa where people who use drugs are no longer criminalised, and enjoy the same rights as those guaranteed to all South Africans in the constitution, without marginalisation, exclusion or stigma based on their use of drugs.

Our Objectives:

  1. To provide a legitimate, coordinated and collective representative voice for peer-led networks of people who use drugs and ensure their active participation in the development of policies, legislation and research that impacts on their rights and wellbeing.
  2. To facilitate the establishment, capacitation and participation of peer-led regional networks that advocate for the rights and appropriate responses to people who use drugs at community, metropolitan and provincial levels.
  3. To contribute to the dismantling of the stigmatising and inaccurate narratives that dominate the discourse around drug use and the response to people who use drugs.
  4. To advocate for the provision of harm reduction services, interventions and approaches to people who use drugs as the standard response in the provision of health and social services and across the criminal justice system for people who inject drugs.
  5. To advocate for the rights of people who use drugs at national, regional and international level.
  6. To establish partnerships, collaborations and projects with business, civil society and government for the benefits of the representative groups and PWUD.
  7. To hold government at national and regional level accountable for the harms inflicted on people who use drugs and entire communities as a result of current policies, legislative frameworks and responses to drugs and people who use drugs. 

More about our partners:

Read more about our partnership with TB HIV Care and the services that they offer to people who use drugs. The provision of needles and syringes has been stopped in eThekwini, with devastating consequences. Click the image below. 

Our Activities

  1. Work with the existing networks to develop a set of guidelines, principles and positions to inform the purpose, role and activities of local people who use drugs networks.
  2. Strengthen and expand existing relationships with National Government, the Central Drug Authority, academic institutions and other national role-players, gaining support for effective drug policies, harm reduction and the decriminalisation of people who use drugs.
  3. Advocate for and ensure the meaningful and recognised involvement of people who use drugs in the development of policies, laws, interventions and research that impacts on people who use drugs. This aligns with the principle of “nothing about us, without us”
  4. Identify and secure resources for the local networks including stipends for the secretariat, financial resources for meetings, research and related activities, administrative support and use of equipment and office space.
  5. Develop and enter into memoranda of understanding and co-operation with appropriate and supportive organisations at a national level.
  6. Hold organisations providing services for people who use drugs accountable, ensuring people who use drugs are treated with dignity, are afforded the privileges and rights due to all people, are not misrepresented or excluded, and are included in the design of services.
  7. Ensure that appropriate skills are transferred or developed to enable the networks to move towards independent operations including administration, management, planning and research.
  8. Design and conduct research that is relevant, accurate and useful for the development of policy, strategies and interventions that mitigate against the harms of current drug polices and the criminalisation of drugs and inform the activities and roles of the people who use drugs networks.
  9. Use the research and advocacy agenda to focus efforts and provide structure for the processes and activities during the early development of the people who use drugs networks.

Our friends, partners and allies: