When it became obvious in the mid-eighties, that drug users were one of the groups most affected by HIV and AIDS, JES was appealed for taking care of this group. From that time on the principle of accepting the lifestyles of the groups affected was also a principle of the Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe’s prevention work in the field of drug users.

The Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe offered workshops to subjects as safer use, Methadone treatment, safer sex and strategies of harm reduction. More and more drug users who were HIV+ or suffered from AIDS came to these workshops in order to look for information about HIV  infection and the measures of risk reduction. These workshops gave the impetus to the foundation of an own drug self help organisation in 1989.

This was the first step for drug users to come up for their own interests. Today, the once small initiative has developed into a nation wide network with about 30 local groups.

Common background of all network members was and still is the fight against prohibition and repression. Of  great importance is our demand for a humane life with drugs – a demand which JES sets against the paradigm of abstinence which was predominant in Germany for decades.


The JES Founding declaration: “Drug users like all other human beings have a right of human dignity. They don't need to obtain it through an abstinent and conformist behaviour.”