Living a life of human dignity with drugs

The description JES very consciously signals an affirmation. It is specifically understood as a confrontation of slogans related to drug politics which moralise, such as “Say NO!” The name makes it clear that drug use is not fundamentally negative in itself, that a life with drugs does not just consist of difficult, destructive parts and the possible dependency on psychoactive substances does not always have to be a hindrance. Integration of drug use into our lives occurs in different ways. The more successfully this quite appealing process takes place, the more people can gain as a whole from it. JES therefore also stands for a provocation against simple thinking that only knows “All or Nothing,” “Abstinence or Misery.” Society places basic conditions for a life with drugs. These are currently responsible for the failure of many drug users when confronted with the task of integrating drugs into their lives. The painful experiences many of us have gathered in this context form an integral part of our responsibility in committing ourselves to dealing with drugs in society.

Our chosen principle “Living a life of human dignity with drugs” is binding as a minimum consensus for all groups in the JES Bundesverband. It forms the basis for our common work. It is often misunderstood as an invitation to use drugs or consciously misconstrued. But we know that under present social framework conditions, a life with drugs is often connected to health hazards, violations of human dignity, lawlessness and discrimination. In this light, but particularly because we respect and demand the right to self determination of each one of us, also with respect to the decision for or against use of certain psychoactive substances, we the members of JES are far removed from idealising and propagating drug use.

The guiding principle of our network is to orient “Living a life of human dignity with drugs” towards the common goal of creating social conditions in which people can live with drugs in dignity, i.e. without the threat of prosecution, discrimination, stigmatising, pathologising and being at a permanent disadvantage. JES not only accepts people who want to decide for themselves what drugs they consume. With our work, we support drug users, by working towards the corresponding framework conditions or by creating them ourselves, disseminating knowledge, as well as encouraging and motivating the development of skills and competencies to avoid self-destructive drug use (safer use). The aim is to enable a lifestyle where no one is harmed, but which consists of independence, self-respect and enjoying life.