Tasmanians with Substance

“We are Tasmanians with Substance: a collective of people with lived and living experience of using alcohol and other drugs in lutruwita/Tasmania.” 

Every Tasmanian is entitled to fundamental human rights and should be treated fairly with dignity and respect, but in today’s Tasmania we know that these rights are often denied to people who use alcohol and other drugs. We affirm that many people in Tasmania use drugs and are happy and healthy. Those who seek support for their use of alcohol and other drugs have a health condition which deserves to be treated like any other health condition.   

We advocate for the adoption of drug policies that are modern, evidence-based, prioritise health, and are grounded in harm reduction and human rights. Stigma around drug use is the source of significant damage to the health and well-being of people who use drugs, and we call for changes to policies which currently cause harm.   

Thousands of Tasmanians who use alcohol and other drugs experience unfair treatment and discrimination from healthcare providers, police, alcohol and other drug professionals, prison officers, pharmacists, community service providers and others including family and friends. The damage caused is immeasurable. To address this our collective offers the following declaration: 

People who use alcohol and other drugs in Tasmania have the right to:

  • Equity, inclusion, dignity and respect and to live free from discrimination and stigma
  • Bodily autonomy and personal choice  
  • Access timely, contemporary, evidence-based drug treatment and culturally appropriate support services that are non-judgmental and responsive to our unique health needs
  • Obtain safe, new injecting equipment and other health affirming treatment and lifesaving resources without fear of criminalisation or persecution
  • Access and freedom to choose effective, affordable medications
  • Participate in the development and implementation of drug policies and programs that directly impact our lives 
  • Lead meaningful decision-making processes that accurately represent the diversity of our perspectives

We recognise that the implementation of these rights is not only essential to our well-being, but also to the well-being of the wider Tasmanian community. We call on policymakers, health professionals, friends, family and the public to support these rights and to work towards the establishment of policies and programs that uphold the dignity and human rights of all people who use alcohol and other drugs.”

Written by Kerrie Dare, Emily Ebdon, Lily Foster and Jo Murphy

Please contact Greg Taylor for more information on this project.