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Dec 13, 2007

Report of the 1th N-American INPUD meeting in New Orleans (Dec. 8, 2007)

Louis Jones (VOCAL NY, INPUD)
1th N-American INPUD meeting
December 8, 2007
IDPR Conference New Orleans, USA

Meeting chair: Becky Brooks

On December 8, 2007 a group of (more or less) 40 DU Activists held the 1st N-American INPUD meeting during the IDPR Conference in New Orleans. Apart from the N-American INPUD members of the first hour (Dimitry, Michael, Howard, Norma, Jason, Becky, ...) there where a lot of new and long time DU Activists who now first met with the International Network Of People Who Use Drugs. We also welcomed our first Mexican and Colombian DU Activists in the International DU Activism scene.

INPUD board member Becky Brooks opened the meeting of which the first part was dedicated to explanations by N-American DU Activists, International DU Activists and allies on how DU Activism looks like from their point of view:

Ethan Nadelmann (DPA, USA):

DU Activism, DP Activism

Louis Jones (VOCAL NY, USA):

Connecting INPUD with VOCAL New York and the N-American DU Activists and DU Organizations

Luiz Guanabara (INPUD Board, Sao Paulo, Brazil):

Developing INPUD in South America. It's all about stigma and cocaine...

Allen Clear (Harm Reduction Coalition, NY, USA)

DU Activism and the Harm Reduction movement in the USA – Support of HRC

Stijn Goossens (Executive Director INPUD, Antwerp, Belgium)

Developing INPUD

Yvonne Sibuea (IDUSA, Jakarta, Indonesia):

INPUD in Indonesia

Matt Curtis (IHRD, NY, USA)

DU Activism in Eastern Europe and Asia

Second part of the meeting:

Question and Answers / Discussion on N-American INPUD Activism

Carol Romanov (Formerly Solid) mentioned Canadian DU Organizations (VANDU, UNDUN, WARS, MANDU, ...) and the (wrong) way we're heading with Canadian drug policy (mandatory minimums...).

Walter Cavalieri explained about Canadian Harm Reduction and DU Activism

Drug Users Minneapolis (Michelle, Heather, ...) declared themselves ready for scaling up DU Activism and closer cooperation with the other N-American DU Activists and DU Organizations, and to be part of INPUD.

Dimitri (VOCAL NY, Freedom Root) declared that the groups he's part of are ready for closer cooperation and scaling up American DU Activism.

Jason Farrel (HRCS, NY, USA) stressed the need for focus on the issues that unite us more then on the issues that could divide us. A lot is possible if we keep head cool and cooperate well.

Laverne from VOCAL NY expressed the need to involve more actively the street drug users in American DU Activism. She wants to help and develop activities for getting more marginalized DU to the bigger events and conferences. She also expressed the need for more attention for crack cocaine users needs and to not narrow down DU Activism to IV drug use.

INPUD director Stijn Goossens acknowledged the need to pay attention on the involvement of speed users and cocaine users in the International DU community. He explained that the only way that things will happen for the better is by the work and community organizing around targeted issues by DU Activists themselves. If we want attention for cocaine/speed users then we'll have to be VOCAL about it and push to get these issues on the agenda. The others aren't going to do it for us.

On the one hand it's the DU Activists task to be willing and prepared for involvement and participation with service providers and policy makers, and on the other hand to develop activities and be vocal about the issues that are not been taken care of now (like harm reduction for cocaine/speed users)

Kris from Seattle defined the issue of the need to pay attention for follow up after this meeting to not just have this meeting and then nothing. This N-American INPUD meeting reminds him of the meeting that we had with the International DU Activists during the 2005 IHRC in Belfast after which a two year process of close cooperation between DU Activists and IHRA and IHRD lead to the founding and registration of the international network of people who use drugs. Next occasions for N-American DU Activists to meet will be the American NEP Conference in spring and the Harm Reduction Coalitions Conference in Miami in November 2008.

The meeting closed with application forms completed by 25+ potential INPUD members. Stijn and Becki will compile and present as time permits.

I want to thank the N-American DU Activists for their enthusiasm and their engagement for developing as well N-American INPUD, as to be active in and be part of The International Network Of People Who Use Drugs.

All the best to us!

Stijn Goossens

Becky Brooks

International Network Of People Who Use Drugs


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Phone: +32 3 297 8451

Mobile: +32 479 982 271





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