4. Drug social clubs – the next social club generation?
The cannabis social club (CSC) model has mainly emerged from grass-root movements of cannabis users, facilitated by the decriminalization of cannabis and the feasibility of cannabis production for the needs of the CSC members. In this presentation, we explore several initiatives among people who use drugs (PWUD) to develop similar social club type models for substances other than cannabis.
We conducted an exploratory narrative review of scientific and grey literature centered around the four areas: legal context, self-organization, safe consumption practices and safe supply among consumers of psychoactive drugs other than cannabis.
We found a number of examples of grass-root movements among PWUD which have provided safer environments for substance use, including social clubs centered around ritual use of traditional plants, events where psychedelics and other drugs are being shared and used, or peer-run consumption sites which oversee the safer use of high-risk substances. These examples suggest that in some circumstances, users of other drugs can self-organize to provide safer consumption environments informed by harm reduction principles. The most significant barriers for further development of the social club model for other drugs seem to be the legal penalties for drug possession and use, as well as for (self- )supply of other drugs. There are also technical complexities faced by users with respect to achieving safe manufacture of synthetic drugs.
Finding the right balance between self-organization and government regulation seems essential and the extent of the latter might partially depend on the reputation of the consumer group and substances in question.