The People’s National Drug User Union: We are Experts! We are Family!
Mission: The Urban Survivor’s Union is a grassroots coalition of drug users (both former and active) dedicated to insuring respect, dignity and social justice for our community. We contest the dominant culture’s misguided attitudes and biases about drug use and drug users. USU stands for a new direction by centering our programs on putting the drug user first and foremost.We believe that efforts to advance our agenda must be guided by democratic principles, and a dedication to diversity. All USU activities are directed and carried out by drug users (former and active) in order to insure the integrity of our mission and that of the drug user’s movement.
We Believe: Change is a process and sustaining any positive change is a victory.
We Believe: Drug Users want to be healthy and have the capacity to be healthy given the education and the proper tools.
We Believe: We are not powerless. We are the only ones with the power!
We Believe: Education, Empowerment and Access to sterile syringes and supplies are necessary for keeping people that use drugs healthy.
Urban Survivor’s Union Foundational Ethics
The ethics of Urban Survivor’s Union are defined by our own Principles of Collective Unity, statement of non-discrimination in addition USU, regional chapters, and affiliate groups are informed and bound by the Harm Reduction Coalition’s Principles of Harm Reduction and finally by the core competencies of Community Health Workers as described the American Public Health Association’s Community Health Worker track.
Urban Survivor’s Union Statement of Non-Discrimination
Urban Survivor’s Union does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, current or former drug use history, political affiliation, incarceration history, disability status, mental health history, HIV status, size or any other class.
Urban Survivor’s Union Principles of Collective Unity
The community of individuals and regional chapters collectively know as Urban Survivor’s Union and Urban Survivor’s Union members affirm our commitment to the following Principles of Collective Unity. This charter acts as the guiding foundation of all our decisions and may only be amended after changes have been announced at least a month in advance of a general meeting where those amendments will be discussed and only with the consensual and unanimous agreement of all USU members.
What Do We Do?
Direct Services: USU is a community organizing group. We only engage in direct services when programs are underground or newly forming. We do this because USU knows how important harm reduction services are and if no one else is providing the services then we must. Often when drug user services are newly formed they are not created with drug user input therefore another role of USU is to provide trainings and examples of how drug user services “should be operated”
NC-USU, for example, is the only drug user union in the US South. All of our chapters have 4 major components.
Leadership Development/ Training
Community Organizing/ Grassroots Campaigns
Direct Services for people who use drugs
We have a series of trainings that we use to teach effective leadership development. We accomplish leadership development through local and national trainings and retreats.
Train the Trainer: How to engage effective people/ effective outreach/ recruitment
Media Trainings: How to talk to the media and create effective messages
Rogers Rules/ Effective Meetings: How to hold effective meetings and get results
From Anger to Apathy to Activism: How being an activist can change your life.
Good Samaritan Act -2014, strengthening of Good Samaritan Act-2015, Police Officer Safety Act/ Syringe Decriminalization- 2014, Naloxone Access- 2014. Ban the Box- 2015. Legislative Days: Second Chance Alliance/ HIV Funding/ Hepatitis C awareness/ Overdose Summit.
We have an annual Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, designed to educate and provide Naloxone to the community.
Civic Engagement: This is our “get out and vote” campaign. We rolled out the “Felons Can Vote, Too” campaign two years ago and have been working to educate felons so they know that they can vote after completing probation and registering to do so. It’s our goal to motivate and mobilize drug users, minorities, homeless, and low income communities to register and vote.