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    Philippines Harm Reductionists Share Their Vision Amid a Murderous Drug War

    “It has never been about drugs. It has always been about people.”

    That’s the motto of NoBox Transitions, a courageous Philippines harm reduction organization working to provide services and advocacy for people who use drugs.

    They do this in the context of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous drug war, which has resulted in the extra-judicial executions of an estimated 27,000 people suspected of using or selling drugs since 2016.

    When I visited Manila and interviewed some of the NoBox team members at their headquarters, they told me about their philosophy and the meaning of their name, about dominant attitudes to drug use in a deeply religious country, and about being “hungry” for harm reduction influences from elsewhere in the world.

    “Decriminalize drug use,” says team member Ruod Ariete in the original Filter video above, “so that these people don’t fear going to jail, or even getting killed right now in this political atmosphere.”

    • Helen is Filter‘s senior editor and a multimedia journalist. She is on the methadone, vaping and nicotine train. Helen is also a filmmaker. Her two documentaries about methadone are Liquid Handcuffs and Swallow THIS. As an LCSW, she has worked with people who use drugs for over two decades. Helen is an adjunct assistant professor and teaches a course about the War on Drugs at NYU. She lives in Harlem.

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