Recovering Justice was established in 2013. Initially we set up to challenge current drug policies with a focus on their negative impact on people who use drugs and their families.
Everyone in our organisation has currently or presently experienced a problematic relationship with alcohol and/or other drugs. Our voices are too often co opted to justify punitive drug policy and harsh sentencing. By reframing our stories in a policy context we show that the criminalisation and stigmatisation of people who use drugs is inhumane ineffective counterproductive and costly. We speak truth to power promoting viable alternatives to punitive policy backed by international evidence and lived experience.
Drug deaths in the UK are at their highest since records began in 1993.They have more than doubled in in the last 10 years. Research from the Department of Health Sciences for the UK Drug Policy Commission shows that the extreme stigma attached to problematic substance use represents a massive obstacle to rehabilitation and recovery; hindering access to treatment, securing work and housing and rejoining society.
Services have been dramatically cut throughout the UK the North East those being hit the hardest are the most stigmatised marginalised and neglected people – problematic substance users. The root causes not being addressed and support if available being vastly reduced or over whelmed by people needing help but not having the right resources or access to services these
An essential part of reducing stigma is to change the language used when discussing drug use our trainings to equip people in with the right skills, knowledge and training so they can speak truthfully and safely about their lived experience and reduce stigma.
Building Community there is a strong sense of community within individual recovery organisations the development of success is hinged on the growing network of recovery community organizations, the coming together of people with shared and lived experience. To create change we need to join the dots and develop a unified voice to challenge current drug policy and be part of developing solutions –we always include people in recovery, current drug users, drug reform organisations, academics, policy makers, law enforcement, the criminal justice and health services.
Campaigns Recovering Justice is developing a campaign defined by lived experience and validated by scientific evidence to show that drug policy reform would have profound benefits to current and former drug users, their families, communities and society as a whole. That problematic drug use is a health issue not a criminal one.
What we do
The work Recovering Justice does is predominantly with affected communities to empower them to use their voice of lived experience in a positive way for change. These voices are used to engage and inform policy makers and those in power at a local and national level as well as other organisations involved in drug reform
This involves us creating forums, campaigning and lobbying. Since 2015 we have presented at the national Drink and Drug News User Involvement conference, hosted a panel at the International Conference on Addition and Associated Disorders and at the Sheffield University Hallam centre for Human Rights.
We have spoken at 3 national recovery events in the North East and Scotland reaching over 5000 people in recovery. Recovering Justice attended an executive course hosted by School of Public Policy (SPP) CEU Budapest on drug policy reform after the United Nations General Assembly 2016 -the first recovery organisation to do so.
Attended and presented at a closed workshop Gendered Impacts of Drug policy hosted by SPP in September. We have also hosted a public event in Glasgow which was attended by three members of the Scottish parliament and the ex-justice Secretary for Scotland and presented as part of a panel discussion at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna.
One of our co-founders has her personal testimony in the latest GDPC report 2016 on Advancing Drug policy reform: A new approach to decriminalisation. We are community advisors for Mike Barton Durham Chief Constable, Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg, and have hosted 3 engagement workshops with the recovery community, grassroots organisations and service providers.