Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SF Drug Users Union Formed
With Private Grant

The minutes from the February 11 meeting of the HIV Prevention Planning Council, which were recently posted to the web, report that an important step in creating better, saner drug policies came to San Francisco recently. Through the generosity of a private grant, we now have Drug Users Union forming, and the first meeting for the union was held last month.

Googling more info on this project didn't turn up more details than what is in the HPPC minutes, but I hope the council receives regular updates about the work of the union and the issues they want addressed.

The full set of minutes from the February HPPC meeting are posted here. These are the pertinent excerpts from the minutes:

2. General Public Comment

The following public comments were made:

Alexandra Goldman announced the creation of the San Francisco Drug Users Union Project. While a drug union has been attempted in the past, funding was not available to support it. With funding available this year, it is hoped that the drug union will become active. The union will be organized by people who identify themselves as drug users in order to empower themselves to make decisions for themselves. The first meeting will be on Tuesday, 2/16 at 4pm at Tenderloin Health. A flier was distributed.

3. Members’ Response to Public Comment

HPPC members requested further clarification on the SF Drug Users Union Project and its funding, staffing, and outreach to youth. The SF Drug Users Union Project is funded through a grant written by the Drug Policy Alliance.

The SF Drug Users Union Project is currently staffed by one person, but it is hoped that the union will grow to include staff members from the community.

The SF Drug Users Union Project is not a program of Tenderloin Health. Tenderloin Health will host some of the meetings with additional meetings being held at the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center.

The program will work with youth as it branches out into other areas such as the Haight. Any help with access to youth would be helpful.

Drug Users Union Projects in other cities have helped pass policies on a city level to get syringe access in homeless shelters and have staff trained in drug overdose prevention.

On a state level, drug unions have helped pass laws making it illegal for police to harass people outside of syringe exchange and have worked towards the opening of safe injection facilities.

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