Youth rise harm reduction for young people - barriers

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Youth rise harm reduction for young people - barriers

  1. 1. Robin Pollard robin@youthrise.orgOperations Coordinator Youth RISE
  2. 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. 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 .
  4. 4. The 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
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. Our approach to supporting thedevelopment of youth friendly harmreduction 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.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. Drug policy reform = HIVprevention 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.
  9. 9. 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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