Robin Pollard firstname.lastname@example.org Operations Coordinator Youth RISE
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.