RUN – Recovered Users Network
Even though our grassroots activities are crucial for individuals in recovery, families and friends, the recovery advocacy movement must also be visible at the drug policy level where we can influence specific aspects of drug policies, shift the focus from the pathology of addiction to the patterns of recovery, and ensure that the best practices in recovery and social reintegration are not forgotten. The Recovered Users Network (RUN) is an EU platform and network of 36 NGOs and many individuals who support Recovery. It represents the joint voice of many people who aim to raise the voice of the recovery movement by contributing to constructive and respectful drug policies for individuals, families and communities.
As a network of EURAD (a European non-profit drug policy Foundation which has ECOSOC status and advocates for prevention and recovery oriented drug policy at national and international level) RUN has been able to enage in the work of the United Nations, which is very significant at a drugs policy level. During the past couple of years, RUN has orginised and hosted many significant side events during UN drug policy gatherings and was a member of the Civil Society Task Force during the preparation process for the United Nation General Assenbley Special Session (UNGASS) in 2016. RUN has been able to move the focus from drug users alone towards individuals in recovery as well. This can be seen in recent EU and UN policy papers and is something which has not been included previously. As such it represents a huge step towards more balanced drug policies. The UNGASS consultation Final Report of RUN was submitted to VNGOC and recommendations were included in the main outcome of UNGASS. The final document (please see link below) contains operational recommendations to address and counter the world drug problem.
Each year RUN has also attended the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). At the most recent CND, RUN organised an exhibition and series of side events in collaboration with partners, members and Member States within the official program. This aimed to put the recovery advocacy movement in the EU on a higher level, showing how each individual’s recovery impacts on the community, family and wider public. (More information on the exhibition is available on the links below).
RUN aims to enable more voices from different countries to be heard and support more diverse individuals to come forward with their own messages. There are millions of individuals and families in long-term recovery. We are finally recognizing that their collective experience may be able to shed light on the problem of addiction and, even more importantly, on its varied solutions. The huge number of diverse individuals who celebrate recovery and the way in which recovery has changed their lives and the lives of their families and communities can demonstrate how supportive communities improve chances for recovery and create a therapeutic environment in which recovery can flourish. Activities like these present the thousands of human faces and voices of recovery and challenge the stigma, stereotypes, and pessimism long associated with severe drug problems and which fuel discrimination. They provide a venue for advocating pro-recovery social policies and programs.
Recovery is worth promoting as the ultimate, achievable outcome for substance use disorders and has a long term positive effect on individuals, families and communities. We all need to strive for the recovery oriented systems of care and towards creating more balanced policies in which recovery takes our ultimate goal.
Mulka Mujicic, RUN
UNGASS (United Nation General Assembly Special Session) outcome document available here