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Robin Pollard Operations Coordinator Youth RISE.

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Presentation on theme: "Robin Pollard Operations Coordinator Youth RISE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Robin Pollard Operations Coordinator Youth RISE

2 Who are Youth RISE?  “Youth RISE is a youth led network promoting evidence based drug policies and harm reduction strategies with the involvement of young people who use drugs and are affected by drug policies.”  International Working Group  Global, diverse membership

3 Our work  Promote evidence based harm reduction interventions for young people who use drugs.  Capacity building.  Peer education training.  Advocacy on the ineffectiveness of current drug policies on young people.  Mobilise, engage, and facilitate youth involvement in the drug policy reform and harm reduction advocacy.  Increase evidence to support advocacy and inform an effective response.

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5 T he need for youth harm reduction  More likely to engage in high risk drug-using behaviour  Earlier, riskier sexual behaviour, unprotected sex, STD’s multiple partners  Lack of knowledge of HIV, HEP C  Lack knowledge of harm reduction, safer injecting practices  Poly-drug use  Socio-economic exclusion (unemployment/lack of education)  Early initiation can lead to developmental problems  Stigma and alienation from services

6 Barriers to services  Age restrictions.  Confidentiality/parental consent.  Lack of youth friendly services: Harm reduction services do not cater to young people’s specific needs and situations.  Untrained services providers.  Unclear laws also result in hesitation among service providers to provide young people with harm reduction services and support.  Punitive drug laws.

7 Our approach to supporting the development of youth friendly harm reduction  Context ! Youth RISE engages young people from around the world to advocate in their own country.  Capacity! Support other youth org’s through grant writing, organisation development, capacity, funding for projects.  Research! Understand the local drug scene and keep up with the changes that take place.

8 Effective youth harm reduction services  Young people are not a homogenized group.  Culturally sensitive, and always adapted to the group of young people they are serving as well as to the community.  Address multiple health and behavioural problems.  Health advice, showers, sexual health info, basic counseling, HIV, HEP C STI’s.  Ensure youth are involved in the service design, implementation and evaluation.  Include programs such as skills training, vocational training or simply fun activities.

9 Drug policy reform = HIV prevention  Criminalizing people who inject forces them underground and into dangerous practices to avoid the criminal justice system.  Mass incarceration worsens the HIV epidemic  Alienating young people from services.  Where comprehensive harm reduction measures have been adopted, HIV rate sharply decreases.

10 What we want  Remove the barriers to services  A comprehensive range of harm reduction services  Engaging youth both in service design and implementation  Policy makers, donors, service providers who concentrate on HIV prevention to place much greater focus on young people who use drugs.  End criminalising young people who use drugs.


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