Blog by Kiah Ellis-Durity, Artwork by Emma Richard
On June 24th 2021, CSSDP held a roundtable discussion in solidarity with Support. Don’t Punish. Global Day of Action. This roundtable, Centring Youth Voices: Another Drug World is Possible, was a conversation with 9 youth across the country where folks were able to hear and learn youth perspectives on what they envision the future sensible drug policy should look like. This event was co-moderated by Head & Hands’, Maureen and Get Sensible’s, Heath, both youth and experts in the field.
Through this event we aimed to unpack how our current drug policies impact the youth around us. By hearing directly from young people we are able to understand the urgency and importance of including and centring youth voices in dialogues around drug policy, reform, and harm reduction.
We received a lot of engagement during our event. Audience members were invited to ask pertinent questions about these issues. By inviting folks to participate in the conversation we were able to touch on a variety of topics like:
- Youth perspectives on BC’s Bill-22 (which we’ve critiqued here)
- Crucial issues facing young people who use drugs
- Drug education and reducing stigma
- Youth and mental health
- Drug elitism
- Barriers to accessing youth-centered services and more!
Youth are both the future and the present. We have to live under punitive drug policy today, and, unless things change, we will have to live under punitive policy tomorrow as well. As we continue to have these conversations we must not only discuss the Drug World we would want to live in today but for the youth of the future as well.
The discussion was illustrated by creative facilitator, Emma Richard. Through her digital storytelling Emma transformed this informative conversation into an accessible visual journey map (See image above).
This event would not be made possible without the support of RisingYouth, Youth Rise, Canada Service Crops, and the Government of Canada.
About Support. Don’t Punish.
Support. Don’t Punish is a global grassroots-centered initiative in support of harm reduction and drug policies that prioritize health and human rights. The campaign’s yearly high point is the Global Day of Action, which takes place on, or around, 26th June, which is the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
You can watch the full roundtable here: https://www.facebook.com/104111507552/videos/302519371608047
To learn more about the broader Support. Don’t Punish. Day of Action go to: https://supportdontpunish.org/
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