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Apr 1, 2008

Up date on the work for INPUD at the IHRA Conference in Barcelona

Dear friends and peers,

The IHRA Conference and satellite INPUD Congress will take place no longer than a month and a half from now. I received quit some personal emails and participated in group mailings from different groups of DU Activists concerning our involvement in the conference and informative questions in general.

I'll round up what what was send to me and then make a proposal on how to go forward or what we can do next.

I identified the following issues coming up in recent emailing:

Harm Reduction measures during the conference

Conference fee's and scholarships

The IHRA Conference and the INPUD Congress

We our selves: Drug User Activism

INPUD/INPUD communication

INPUD/IHRA communication

Harm Reduction measures during the conference

Howard Lotsof, Satxa Rosello and Jose Carbonell are in the conference Medical Committee to keep an eye on user specific needs. The Catalan health department is very pro-harm reduction and works to provide the harm reduction measures that are legally possible.

The Conference Medical Committee already put on-line a web page with medical services that'll be available during the conference:

General Medical and Healthcare Facilities
Information for all Delegates
Information for Delegates on Opioid Substitution Treatment
Information for Delegates on Other Medical Treatments
Information for Active Drug Users

I thank Howard, Satxa and Jose and I'd like to ask them to evaluate one more time what is provided and to look after things that are not available or missing. Identifying the things that are missing tells us on what we'll have to work out/be active on ourselves.

About the discussion on the safe injection facility (as a show-room and a SIF for IDU at the conference), there are 2 things here.

If a mobile facility is a legal measure in Spain, then it's probably the financial part of the picture that is holding back the conference to organize it (can some one of APDO confirm that a mobile facility is a legal harm reduction measure in Barcelona?).

On the one hand the harm reduction conference should make use of the occasion to promote best harm reduction practices. Having a promotional “show-room” SIF to show to all these delegates from around the world, in my opinion, is a good thing. And I think we can all agree that we'll not accept a SIF that at the same time is a zoo where people come to watch IDU doing their stuff.

On the other hand we need to provide a non-toilet-solution for people who inject drugs.

The nearest by Barcelonian injecting facility that needs half an hour up and half an hour down traveling isn't realistic. Non the less I'd like to ask the APDO Activists to make available anyway a road map to the nearest facility and the regulations to be able to make use of the facility.

Last year in Warsaw it was possible to inject in the supervised nursing facility set up by the Medical Committee. I'll ask if this is the case this year in Barcelona.

If nothing is possible then we'll have to work out ourselves an alternative

Conference fee's and scholarships

(discussion on conference entrance fee & on INPUD scholarships)

I don't have a list or clear view on who of our people received a scholarship. This year, in contrast to the previous year, IHRA didn't inform us about the money available for scholarships and a long with this came the new policy to give to some of our (INPUD) speakers/presenters only partial scholarships with only the conference registration fee waived. For instance INPUD board member Becky Brooks, invited to speak in a Users Choice session, has almost gave up hope to find additional sponsors to pay for the flight and hotel.

The conference fee for people who use drugs is to much and is an unsolved question since many years. Prices now even seem to accelerate and I don't even dare to think of people who live in dollar countries.

Taking into consideration the fact that IHRA and INPUD since this year also developed professional relations (with mutual beneficial results) out side the IHRA Conference-event and feeling a growing acknowledgment of our capabilities, working as equally experienced professionals, I'll insist that from this year on we'll be able to bring forward ourselves points of negotiations:

- To negotiate a more realistic entrance fee for INPUD members.

- To be informed about the money available for INPUD scholarships and again to have an equal voice in appointing the scholarships.

The IHRA Conference and the INPUD Congress

The INPUD Congress is organized as a satellite to the IHRA-Conference. The congress room and basic equipment are provided by IHRA and The Conference Consortium under the condition that 'a substantive part' of the Congress attendants also are registered for the IHRA Conference and to do a pre-congress registration. The previous years it was obliged to be registered for the IHRA Conference to be able to attend a satellite.

Additional for the Congress: after negotiations between DU Activists and patient group APDO, Grup Igia and the Catalan Health department provided funding for translation and food and drinks for the Congress.

People attending the INPUD Congress, but who didn't register for the IHRA conference, do can attend the opening of the IHRA Conference and reception.

We our selves: Drug User Activism

As mentioned above. We should organize ourselves the things that aren't provided. That's why the proposed inventory of what is and what is not, is very important. As mentioned I'll ask our representatives in the Medical Committee to review what is available and what not. This should take not all to long (if they don't have it already).

Ones we know what is not taken care of, we can start doing it ourselves from next week on.

INPUD/INPUD cooperation and communication

A lot of questions arise because of my current inability to communicate in a proper way back to the network about all aspects of the work, one of the aspects being the for INPUD very important IHRA Conference. I'll work this out with available Activists to organize more intensive the information, up-date and discussion flow in INPUD.

On how things will work out in the end: a lot depends on our ability to cooperate in practice. Apart from the work on the above mentioned communication, I'll meet some of the international Activists in the very near future:

I'm in New York next Saturday April 5. I already made first arrangements to meet with Michael Carden who was in Barcelona (with Dimitri) last week. We'll contact the other New Yorkers in a separate email to meet and inform each other and discuss some of the issues mentioned.

The week after that (April 14-18), Milena and I travel to Copenhagen as we are invited by Joergen Kjaer and the peers from Danish Users Union to take our time catching up on things and to discuss and cooperate on the issues related to the INPUD Congress and IHRA Conference, and to work on regional (European) INPUD stuff.

I hope these combined contacts and meetings will enable us to take care of our own business as we are supposed to.

INPUD/IHRA cooperation and communication

I've asked Gerry Stimson for a telephone meeting later this week. I'll bring up all the issues we've discussed and ask for answers and clarifications. Also Gerry will have a list of issues to discus, I'm sure.

After that I'll report back to you all and INPUD as soon as possible.


Stijn Goossens
Executive Director

International Network Of People Who Use Drugs

GuldensporenStraat 88/2
2140 Borgerhout

Phone: +32 3 297 8451
Mobile: +32 479 982 271



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