PENELOPE HILL

PENELOPE HILL

PENELOPE HILL

DRUG POLICY AND THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Taking on the position of founding Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Australia has provided me the opportunity of attending various international conferences and United Nations sessions around drugs, and provide an Australian youth voice to the international conversation. My personal highlight from these sessions is the push to align national and international drug policies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), incorporating public health, community development and environmental aspects and awareness into drug policies. After founding SSDP Australia 18 months ago, we have had students both sign up to have their voices heard, and wanting to include the study of drug policy and harm reduction into their academic work. This networking is enabling the next generation of lawyers, health and medical workers, scientists and teachers to be aware of how to incorporate harm reduction into their everyday lives, and future careers; highlighting a need to strongly collaborate and bring together students within the wider Australian and international drug policy reform movement. 

This lecture will focus on local, national and international collaboration from all sectors of drug policy, considering what we can and are doing on the ground in Australia in the lead up to the next high level UN meeting on drugs in 2019, with the push to incorporate the goals into drug policy, presented by the Australian youth delegate to the recent United Nations sessions on drugs. The lecture will be interactive (with Q&A) and cover: How we are interacting with the UN processes, and how could we interact further? Which SDGs are most relevant to drug policies, and what impact do they have? What can be done within the Australian community, to align drug policies with the SDGs?

The SDGs were adpoted in 2015 as a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. National and international drug policies need to be based within the sustainable development agenda in order to broaden the scope of the policies and enable the UNODC to better interact with other UN agencies. There is a strong push from the UN itself for drug policies to be based in this agenda, and governments, large international drug policy organisations and harm reduction organisations are beginning to align their strategies on drug policy around the goals. 

PENELOPE is a founder and national President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia. She has worked within community health and harm reduction for 4 years, with experience including working within drop in and outreach needle syringe programs and music festival harm reduction across Victoria and NSW. Penelope holds a Master of Public Health, Graduate Diploma in International and Community Development, and is currently studying a PhD focussing on health service utilisation of people who inject drugs. She is a current board member of Harm Reduction Victoria, Harm Reduction Australia and the International Drug Policy Consortium's Strategy Sub Committee (Oceania Representative). She has been invited to attend the recent United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Commission on Narcotic Drugs Sessions (2016 and 2017) and the recent United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in 2016, as a representative of Australian youth civil society.