WW Commentary: Drug users need unions, compassion clubs

Drug users and abusers, as a group of people, are among the most oppressed of our class. Because of this, we are in need of an organization or organizations that protect us and our human rights. We also need an organization that helps to combat the overdose epidemic, often caused by fatal opioids like carfentanil or ohmefentanyl. These organizations would include a drug users union and a U.S. off-shoot of the compassion club Drug Users Liberation Front.

What is a drug users union? It is an organization dedicated to harm reduction, the philosophy that says that we should take all opportunities and all steps to prevent the deaths or the harm caused by drugs to people. Harm reduction includes syringe exchange programs, safe consumption sites and even safe drug supply.

Safe drug supply is the distribution of drugs such as diacetylmorphine (heroin), crystal methamphetamine and cocaine by compassion clubs. All three drugs have been compromised with fentanyl analogues that can and do kill. The DULF in Vancouver, Canada, distributes these drugs to people in their community. Another organization, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users is a 20-year-old drug users union that works alongside the DULF.

The compassion club model was used to distribute marijuana to patients who needed it and to distribute affordable medications for HIV/AIDS. This model was adapted and applied to the scourge of drug abuse. There is a strong need in the United States to form these organizations; our drug and overdose epidemics are not getting any better and indeed seem to be getting even worse. With COVID derailing everyday life, more people are turning to harder and harder drugs. In fact, drug overdoses spiked in the last year: 100,000 people have died since May 2020. 

This cannot be allowed to continue.

Heroin prohibition is the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States. Prohibition of drugs that are abused is the main cause of danger in these drugs. With a safe consumption site in place, users would be able to use drugs without the high risk of death. But drug prohibition causes other problems too. Here are some of the problems it causes:

  1. It creates stigma around the use and abuse of drugs. This stigma creates discrimination in the medical field; drug addicts and people who use drugs are exposed to health care disparities.
  2. Drug supplies are adulterated with highly toxic cuts such as ohmefentanyl, acetylfentanyl, acrylfentanyl, butyrfentanyl, carfentanil, U-47700 and others. Because of these cuts, users are often hospitalized and that hospitalization takes beds from others.
  3. The criminal “justice” system is crowded with people on drug crimes, who are then kept incarcerated under deplorable conditions through money bail systems.
  4. The “War on Drugs” continues to cost millions of taxpayer dollars that could go to programs such as Medicaid or SNAP. Public assistance programs would potentially assist in stopping drug abuse as well.
  5. Illicit drug markets create dangerous conditions wherever they are formed.

In light of these dangers, we must support the creation of drug users unions and compassion clubs. Despite the risk of arrest, people should coalesce and organize these groups. It is so important to the proletariat.

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