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ID: 143

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Practice

Topics: Harm Reduction in North America; Peer-Driven Treatment, Care and Harm Reduction

Presenting author: Jean-François Mary

Presenting author biography:

Jean-François Mary is the executive director of the Association Québécois de Promotion de la Santé des personnes Utilisatrices de Drogues (AQPSUD), a peer run provincial harm reduction organisation. He has gained significative experience in harm reduction and homeless.

“making our voice heard” : from a Quebec peer run harm reduction magazine to rights defense and advocacy

Jean-François Mary

The AQPSUD is a peer run organisation operating in the province of Quebec, Canada. It all started in 2006 with L’injecteur, a peer run province wide harm-reduction and health promotion magazine by and for people who use drugs. L’injecteur was a collective project shared between various organisations from Montreal and Quebec City. From the various links developed through the magazine, a rights defense and advocacy project emerged, the ADDICQ. The participants in both projects decided to operate their own community organisation and the AQPSUD was founded. The AQPSUD now has over 275 members. The magazine it operates is published every 4 months, distributed at 15 000 copies annually, potentially reaching out to 60 000 readers.

Since 2006, L’injecteur has become a medium for the drug using community in Quebec. The process of producing the magazine involves various forms of participation for the drug using population and people with lived experience of drug use: as a work team, as regional statutory collaborators, as one-off or repeating collaborators.
This participatory principle at the heart of the project has allowed L’Injecteur to become a medium that many people who use drugs in Quebec identify to. It has become their medium, a mean to make good use of their experiences and expertise.
Building on that will to make a change, various rights defense, advocacy or health promotion projects have emerged.
The structure and the way the AQPSUD operates is an example of how peer-run organisation can lead to significant changes in terms of community building, empowerment and in making our voice heard and our issues dealt with.