The Romanian Harm Reduction Network has organized on the 26th of July 2017 a public event in the old town part of Bucharest, as part of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign. There were participants from the Anti-AIDS Romanian Association (ARAS), the Alliance to Fight Alcoholism and Addictions (ALIAT), the Parada Foundation and Totem Association, that distributed flyers and stickers with SDP logo, “The Decriminalisation saves lives!” message, with harm reduction and health centered messages for 7 hours. The Forbidden comics and condoms were distributed.
Organisers posted 3 roll-ups with information on drug use, health and decriminalisation needs. The Totem association was present with their drums, inviting people to sit down, join the singing and find out about the campaign. The street children trained at Parada Foundation joined with Totem in providing a joint circus/drums show.
For one more year, the global campaign “Support.Don’t Punish” has been successfully implemented in Greece. In 2017, 6 different civil society organizations – that constitute the Greek NGO Platform for Psychoactive Substances, an unofficial initiative for joint action among organizations working in the area of drug policy and psychoactive substances – joined forces and cooperated in order to effectively spread the message of the campaign, sensitize the public, raise awareness regarding the harms being caused by the criminalization of people who use drugs and promote the need for human rights and public health oriented drug policy and drug law reform.
The organizations that supported the implementation of the campaign were:
“CENTRE FOR LIFE” for the support of people living with HIV/AIDS [DPNSEE member]
“DIOGENIS”- Drug Policy Dialogue [IDPC partner member & DPNSEE partner member]
“PeNUPS”- Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances
“POSITIVE VOICE”- Association of People living with HIV/AIDS [DPNSEE member]
“PROMETHEUS” – Hellenic Liver Patient Association [DPNSEE member]
For the achievement of the aforementioned goals, two main activities were implemented:
A press interview (June 27th, 12.00-14.00h, at Romantso, 3-5 Anaksagora Street, Omonia, Athens)
A street event (June 27th, 19.00h at SIN Athina, Athens)
Furthermore, before the 27th of June, representatives of these organizations took the initiative to spread the message of the campaign during several official events, that were organized by state authorities by asking officials, journalists, scientists, decision-makers and other high-ranking representatives of governmental organizations to take a photograph with the logo of “Support.Don’t Punish” (e.g. Mrs. Teta Papoutsopoulou-Diamantopoulou, the National Drug Coordinator; Mr. Evaggelos Kavetzopoulos, President of the Hellenic Organization against Drugs- OKANA; Mr. Nikolaos Manios, Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Social Affairs; Μr. Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, MP and former Minister of Justice).
The press interview was given by representatives of PeNUPS (Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances), Mr. Christos Anastasiou and Mr. John Kissas, promoting in that way peer involvement which is one of the basic principles of Harm Reduction.
The remaining organizations actively supported the needs for the preparation and successful implementation of this activity. It was the first time that people coming from the community of PWUD had the floor in a press interview, which attracted 30 participants and was coordinated by the journalist Mrs. Ioanna Sotirchou.
During the afternoon of the 27th of June, a street event also took place in the center of Athens. The goals of this activity were to make the campaign more visible, celebrate the message of “Support.Don’tPunish”, provide informational material and offer some services both to the general population and vulnerable groups (including PWUD) in the area.
Volunteers from the coordinating organizations actively contributed in the implementation. T-shirts, bags, stickers with the logo of “Support. Don’t Punish” and flyers with the basic principles of Harm Reduction were distributed. In addition, NGO Praksis offered free, anonymous and voluntary rapid testing for HIV, HBV and HCV with its mobile unit. Moreover, of outmost importance was the contribution of the initiative “STEPS” that helped in the preparation of food and beverages and offered music. This event gathered and united around a hundred people.
For the needs of campaign’s promotion a facebook page was created under the title: Support.Don’t Punish -Greece- where you can have access to more detailed information, videos and photographs. Facebook advert was used attract more people to the page, resulted in 300 likes within a week.
2 facebook events were also created for the promotion of the two activities: