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Recently, we wrote about Legalize Belarus, a civil society campaign that promotes the rights of drug addicts and for humane drug policy in Belarus in general. From May 9 to May 13 Legalize Belarus is organising a unique event – the School  of Humane Drug Policy, which we recommend you to attend. What kind of school is it? How do I get there? And what kind of knowledge in the field of drug policy can be obtained? You can find out the answers to all these questions by reading the interview with Nastya, the organiser of the school.

School organiser Nastya

– Hi, are you having a School of Humane Drug Policy next month? Tell me, what is this school and what does it represent?

– The School from Legalize Belarus is an educational training for Belarusian doctors, lawyers, journalists and activists who are interested in the current state of drug policy and work with vulnerable groups. The program of the school consists of 3 training days, during which lectures, discussions and practical exercises.

Photo from the personal archive of Legalize Belarus

– Who will be the speaker at the school and what will be learnt at the school?

– We have put together a unique programme that covers a very wide range of issues on the topic of drug policy. We talk about the problems of legislative regulation of psychoactive substances and the peculiarities of their influence on the human body, we talk about the nature of addiction, psychedelic therapy, hate speech and international activism. Speakers of the school are experts in the field of human rights, as well as lawyers, doctors and activists from Belarus, Georgia, Finland, Poland and Lithuania.

– How did the idea to create a school come about?

– The idea to run a school came when almost the entire staff of the organisation was in emigration. We wanted to continue doing something useful, especially when we were far away from home, and by that time we had accumulated enough knowledge and experience that we wanted to pass on to a new generation of activists.

– This is the third school, how were the two previous schools? How many people took part, what topics were raised, who took part in the school?

– The previous schools were held in Lithuania and Poland, where about 40 Belarusians were trained, and some of them even became part of the Legalize Belarus team, which is a very important indicator for us. Among the speakers were: Orsolya Feher (international drug activist from Students For Sensible Drug Policy), Maria Platko (program manager of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association), Anna Sarang (president of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation) and many others.

– Are there any analogs of such events in Europe or the United States?

– There are many organisations involved in providing such training, such as the Drug Policy Alliance (USA) and Transform Drug Policy Foundation (England). Non-formal education is so developed in Europe and the USA that there are whole networks of NGOs involved in drug policy education. For example, IDPC (The International Drug Policy Consortium) has over 190 organisations worldwide.

Photo from the personal archive of Legalize Belarus

– How do I get to the school?

– We select participants based on letters of motivation. The main thing for us is the desire of people to change the existing drug policy in a more humane way. Applications can be submitted in the google form until April 6.

– A few words why is it important to be interested in drug policy in your opinion?

– Adequate drug policy is first and foremost about humanity. We cannot say that we live in a humane society as long as people with addictions are perceived by the state and others as something harmful and dangerous. If we look at the methods of fighting drug addiction in Belarus, we will see only intimidation, aggression and misanthropy in its worst manifestations. The worst thing in this situation is that all these methods do not work and bring only losses to society. We have analysed in detail how exactly this is happening in our analytical document.

– And the last question, what final word did you want to pass on to your future students?:)

– If you feel the strength and desire to make the world more humane – send your applications, and we will try to make the training as informative and useful as possible. We look forward to seeing you!

Read more on the topic – “We held design actions based on Belarusian motifs. On Dzedy we marched through the streets of the city in a mourning column dedicated to the victims of cannabis. We walked with empty portraits, because, directly from cannabis nobody died ”.