Indonesia works with young drug users

Indonesia works with young drug users

In October 2012, Youth RISE supported the development of a youth programme at the Alliance linking organisation Rumah Cemara, a community based NGO that provides peer services for people affected by drug use and HIV in Bandung, Indonesia. Whilst successful in providing harm reduction services for older (30+) people who inject drugs, they were not reaching young people who use drugs, particularly those who were not yet injecting.

Six months on, Rumah Cemara has successfully involved fifty young people who use drugs in the programme. Many of these youth are street connected, and had little knowledge about the drugs they were using and how to reduce harm, sexual health and HIV.

Since launching the programme, the youth have participated in a number of workshops on HIV and harm reduction, English classes, opportunities for creative expression, sport activities, and have been provided with a safe place at Rumah Cemara where they can talk to staff about their concerns and needs until they can fundraise for their own youth friendly drop in space. The programme adopts a holistic approach and understands that drug use is just one aspect of the young persons' life that needs to be addressed. The programme is also highly participatory, engaging the youth at all levels of the programmes design and implementation of activities.

Recently the programme held a workshop on 'Problem solving', and the youth learnt skills on how to solve problems that arise in their daily life. Discussions also focused on being positive, creative, and accepting that reality may not be the same as what we expect.

The Rumah Cemara youth programme will be presented at the International Harm Reduction Conference on the panel 'Children, young people and drug use: policy, law and practice.' to take place in June, 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania.