CSOs urge communities against stigmatizing and discriminating people who use drugs

The Centre for Mental Health Education, Counselling and Empowerment (CMHECE) has advised communities against stigma and discriminating upon people engaging in drug and substance abuse.
CMHECE Coordinator Kelvin Malema sounded the appeal at Mayibiyibi Community Day Secondary School in Karonga during the commemoration of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH CAMPAIGN.

Students hoisting placards with messages on the need to support drug and substance users to change their behaviour
Drug Policy and Harm Reduction Platform (DPHRP) organized two campaigns in Lilongwe and Karonga, respectively, to commemorate the Global Day of Action.

DPHRP is a grouping of People Who Use Drugs (PWUDs), Sex Workers, Faith Leaders, NGO advocates and individuals who have joined the global dialogue that the war on drugs has failed and that there is a need for a more effective, human rights and health-based response approach.

The Platform aims at enhancing advocacy, lobbying and awareness building on the harms of the current drug laws, push for drug policy reforms and initiate harm reduction programs. The DPHR Platform further aims at facilitating awareness building on drug policy and harm reduction issues with the active participation and lead of/by PWUDs.

DPHR Platform, which is as a member of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) has been participating in the Global Day of Action; “SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH” Campaign conducted on 26th June annually, as it joins the Malawi Government in celebrating its contribution to the global war on drugs.

In Lilongwe, the campaign was held in Likuni where Chisampo Women Sex Workers Group, who are members of the DPHR Platform organized a poster display with the message: “SUPPORT; DON’T PUNISH”.

This was in recognition on the importance of reforming the drug policies and laws in order to support PWUDs at the same time encouraging communities to refrain from promoting stigma and discrimination against PWUDs, including sex workers and other key populations groups.

In Karonga, the campaign was conducted at Mayibiyibi CDSC in Donald Malema Village, which is under Paramount Chief Kyungu Mwakabanga.

A total of 98 students attended the campaign, which featured drama to spice the awareness and focused on drugs and substance abuse and need for harm reduction services.
In his remarks at the function held in Karonga, Malema observed that drug and alcohol abuse are negatively affecting young people in their education and health.

He, however, urged communities to desist from stigmatizing and discriminating against people who use drugs such as Chamba or alcohol, but instead to show them love and help them.

“They need our care and support for them to be responsible citizens,” said Malema.
Headmaster for Mayibiyibi CDSS, Mr. Shela, thanked DPHR Platform for conducting the Global Day of Action: Support Don’t Punish at the school.
Shela said the messages disseminated at the event were timely to the students.

“The campaign will help to contribute to high passing marks since many have been involved in drugs and substance abuse hence become indiscipline and in the end affect their studies,” he said.

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