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Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) is home to 21% of the world’s population of people who inject drugs and it is the region with the fastest-growing HIV epidemic. HIV…
Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) is home to 21% of the world’s population of people who inject drugs and it is the region with the fastest-growing HIV epidemic. HIV prevalence among women who inject drugs is significantly higher than among men in EECA. Even in places with high coverage of needle syringe programmes and HIV testing and treatment, women’s access to opioid substitution treatment is lower than men, and women’s sexual and reproductive health needs remain unaddressed. EECA has a unique system of drug registries that store the personal data of people who use drugs. Registration lowers the chances of employment and access to education and for women and increases the risk of losing custody of their children. The system of drug registries contributes to drug-related stigma. Breaches of confidentiality of drug registry data lead to the further marginalisation of women who use drugs. Criminalisation, past experience of police violence and poverty contribute to healthcare access barriers for women. There is a need for legislative changes to improve personal data protection, decriminalise drug use and reduce police violence. The positive effects of these changes would only be seen in the long term. In the interim, women need special access programmes that are designed specifically to address their needs, that provide free-of-charge services and that ensure the safety and confidentiality of personal data.
This chapter presents a broad introduction to women’s varied interactions with drugs and drug markets. It provides a brief overview of the international framework of drug…
This chapter presents a broad introduction to women’s varied interactions with drugs and drug markets. It provides a brief overview of the international framework of drug control and the ways in which drug policy enforcement differently impacts women and men. It highlights the negative and disproportionate impacts on women of criminalisation-based approaches and how drug policy serves to reinforce existing problems of structural discrimination. This provides context for the contributions to this edited collection, which are summarised in the introduction. The book situates drug policy reform as a crucial and underlooked feminist issue.