Debunking the War on Drugs

Aug 4, 2014

Was the Cure for AIDS on the Malaysian Flight?

Dear Drugreporter Fans,

the international AIDS conference was overshadowed by the tragedy of flight MH17. Six well-known HIV researchers and activists were on board, on their way to Melbourne, when separatist forces shot down the plane. According to some speculation, widely publicised in the media, “The cure for AIDS might have been on the plane”. But are we really that close to ending the HIV epidemic? Does it depend on one “secret formula” that might have been travelling in the suitcase of Dr. Joep Lange, former head of the International AIDS Society? Not really. The reality is, as usual, far more complicated. But in a sense, all these six professionals knew the antidotes for HIV, and worked hard to raise awareness of them. The Drugreporter film crew attended the conference to find out what works to end AIDS for good and all.  

Please click here and watch our new movie!

The Drugreporter team does not only produce videos - we also train other activists to use films as tools for activism. After the AIDS conference we were invited by the New Zealand Drug Foundation to Auckland, NZ, to make a video advocacy training for service providers and activists. In the two days workshop we trained them how use videos as part of an advocacy strategy. Participants were introduced to the use of camera and editing softwares. You can find a photo gallery of the workshop on our Facebook page!

The Drugreporter team needs your support to continue its filming and training activities to change drug policies. We do not accept any funding from the government or political parties, therefore we are largely dependent on privat donations. 

Please go the GlobalGiving website and make a tax-deductable donation now!

Best regards,

Peter Sarosi 
Drug Policy Program Director  

May 5, 2014

The Beginning of the End of the Global War on Drugs

Dear Drugreporter Fans!

In 2012, the HCLU produced 154 movies, of which 76 are foreign-language, and 78 are in Hungarian. In 2013, we produced 64 movies - 16 in Hungarian and 48 in other languages. During those two years, we won five prizes and held five training courses in video advocacy. Browse these two catalogues and open the videos by clicking on the link!

In 2009, the member states of the United Nations reaffirmed the dream of a drug-free world, adopting a political declaration which aimed to eliminate or significantly reduce drug trafficking within ten years. Five years later, a high-level segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was convened in Vienna, to discuss the mid-term review of the implementation of this plan. What are the key issues that divide the United Nations? Is the international drug control system losing relevance? What can we expect from the UN General Assembly on Drugs in 2016?

The film we produced in Vienna aims to provide answers to these questions.

We are now working on a movie on the policy on so called legal highs (new psychoactive substances) in New Zealand, a country that decided to regulate the market instead of prohibiting them. The movie is coming soon! 

Next week we are going to Basel, to the European Harm Reduction Conference, where we would like to produce a short video review of current trends in harm reduction. 

Without Your support we would not be able to produce films for changing drug policies. 

Please go the Global Giving website and make a tax-deductable donation now!

Best regards,

Peter Sarosi
Drug Policy Program Director  

Jan 2, 2014

Please Help Us To Debunk The Drug War in 2014!

Dear Fellow Drug Policy Reformers!

Thank you so much for supporting Drugreporter in the previous year - this was a truly historical year for the international drug policy reform movement! 

We have produced several remarkable movies in 2013, such our award-winning film featuring Insite, the first supervised injecting site of North America. We attended and filmed the 2013 session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to make make it more transparent and accountable. We continued our Count the Costs serial with a movie on the devastating consequences of the global war on drugs on security and development. We travelled to Romania to film about the new HIV epidemic among drug users and launched a campaign to support harm reduction in Romania. The Drugreporter filming crew was invited to film at the International Harm Reduction Conference and the International Drug Policy Reform Conference. We prodcued a video on cannabis regulation in Colorado. 

You can follow our activities on Facebook, on Twitter and on the Drugreporter website

Our mission as the chronicles of the drug policy reform movement is far from over. Next year will be a busy year for us. We are going to be at the forefront of change with our cameras to document human rights abuses, to mobilize people and to train activists. Our team was invited to film about the innovative legislation of New Zealand on new psychoactive substances and about the HIV epidemic among injecting drug users in Greece, to train young activists in Nigeria, Indonesia and Thailand to use video advocacy. All these activities are impossible without your support - the Drugreporter does not accept any money from the government or political parties.

Please go the Global Giving website and make a tax-deductable donation now!

Best regards and happy new year! 

Peter Sarosi
Drug Policy Program Director
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union 

Oct 8, 2013

Drugreporter third report!

Campiagn in Romania
Campiagn in Romania

Dear Drugreporter Global Giving Supporters!

We would like to update you on our recent filming activity: We travelled to Romania to produce two movies, and launched a campaign, in collaboration with the Romanian Harm Reduction Network, to raise awareness of the current outbreak of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users in Romania. For many years, HIV infections were very rare among injecting drug users in Romania: just one or two cases annually. This situation has changed dramatically in recent years. A market boom in new psychoactive stimulants (sold as “ethnobotanicals”) has led to a rapid increase in the number of drug injections: a heroin user injects 4-5 times a day - a stimulant drug user 10-15 times. As a result, HIV is rapidly increasing among drug users in Romania. Previously, successful harm reduction programs in Romania were funded by the Global Fund, but when it withdrew from the country, the Government did not maintain support for these life-saving services. As a result, programs have been forced to shut down. In our short documentary and taster, experts and users call upon the government to provide funding for harm reduction. Please join the campaign: watch and share this video and take action to stop HIV!

The situation is similar in Serbia, with the exception that an HIV epidemic has not yet started among injecting users, thanks to the existing harm reduction measures. Just like in Romania, Global Fund support will stop, Government funding is uncertain, and the result may well be a similar rapidly-growing HIV epidemic. We travelled to film in Belgrade, and we are planning to produce our movies in the coming month. You can find many photos on Facebook about our filming trip!

The Drugreporter video team will be attending the Drug Reform conference in Denver, USA. As official conference film-makers, we will record sessions and produce video blogs about the event. For updates of the conference, follow us on Facebook!

For our movie on InSite, the safer injection room in Vancouver, we won the prize for the best Web Video documentary, in the Hungarian Kreatív Magazine's Annual contest. At the end of the year we bought a new camera, a Canon 5d Mark III. It will improve the quality of our movies, and we can now produce really good quality still images too. Thank you very much for your support!

Yours sincerely,
István Gábor Takács and Péter Sárosi

Slum in Belgrade
Slum in Belgrade
Heroin prepared for injection in a slum. Belgrade
Heroin prepared for injection in a slum. Belgrade
Needle exchange at Veza, in Belgrade.
Needle exchange at Veza, in Belgrade.
Drugreporter during filming at Veza, in Belgrade
Drugreporter during filming at Veza, in Belgrade
Jul 1, 2013

Filming at the Harm Reduction 2013 Conference

The International Harm Reduction Conference was organized in Vilnius, Lithunaia this year - more than thousand activists, professionals and decision makers have gathered to discuss the key issues and challanges of harm reduction from all over the world. The video advocacy team of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) attended the conference and filmed the most interesting sessions and produced several short videos available on YouTube.

Click here to watch our 5 minutes video report from the conference!

Some people say harm reduction is a Troyan horse of drug legalization - others say harm reduction is about public health and not about politics. The Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) made a powerful speech at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Vilnius on this issue - watch him on our video!

In a statement released at the Harm Reduction International Conference in Vilnius, Ukraine International HIV/AIDS Alliance has announced that last year, for the first time since 1999, there was a reduction in the number of new HIV cases in the Ukraine, thanks to harm reduction services funded by international donors. Watch our video and learn how this country could beat the HIV epidemic with the help of harm reduction programs!

Ruth Dreifuss, the former president of Switzerland made a speech at the opening session of the International Harm Reduction Conference. She spoke about the need to have a more comprehensive understanding of harm reduction that goes beyond the traditional public health definition of this term. "Time has come to a broader understanding of harms produced by the moralistic condemnation of activities which do not harm others," said Ms. Dreifuss. The pursuit of the dream of a drug-free society leads to executions, murders, mass imprisonment and other human rights abuses - we cannot ignore the broader, international context of drug policy related harms. Watch her speech on our video!

There are three magical words very few politicans dare to utter: I was wrong. Mr. Alexander Kwasniewski, the former president of Poland is among them. Last May he published an op-ed in the New York Times in which he publicly apoligized for signing a bill in 2000 that criminalized people who use drugs. He has realized that the society had to pay a terrible price for criminalization. It has not led to less drug use but filled prisons with young people and creates huge black market. This year he is attending the Harm Reduction 2013 Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he spoke at the opening plenary. The Drugreporter video advocacy team filmed his speech and we posted it uncut!

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Project Leader

Peter Sarosi

Drug Policy Program Director
Budapest, Pest Hungary

Where is this project located?

Map of Debunking the War on Drugs