Aura Roig Forteza

  • Designation: Metzineres Director
  • Country: Spain
  • Title: Sheltered Environments for Womxn who Use Drugs and Who Survive Multiple Situations of Vulnerability and Violence


My background is a social anthropologist with a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Sociology of the Penal System at the University of Barcelona. Currently, I am working on my PhD in Medical Anthropology. For more than 20 years, I have been dedicated to drug policy, harm reduction, human rights, and gender mainstream, combining research with the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of drug policies, programs, and services in Spain, Canada, Colombia, and Costa Rica. Also doing advisory work in USA and EECA Region. In 2016 I moved back to Barcelona to do the first study about women who inject drugs in Catalonia, that was the beginning of the XADUD, Network of Women who Use Drugs. In 2017 Metzineres. Environments of Shelter for Women Who Use Drugs Surviving Violence was born as the first harm reduction program only for women and gender non-conforming people in Spain. In 2020 Metzineres became a non-profit cooperative, where I am the founding director.


Metzineres is the first nonprofit cooperative for and by women and diverse genders people who use drugs to survive multiple situations of vulnerability and violence. Metzineres's model of approach is based on the intersectional feminism perspective, harm reduction, and human rights, offering holistic and individualized responses to more than 480 participants. They experience drug-related problems (55%), homelessness (51%), migratory experiences (46%), LGTBIQ+ (25%), sex work (26%), and/or sex for survival (27%), imprisonment (24%), mental health disorders (42%), and functional diversity (13%). An approach capable of responding to all situations where there are potential risks or damages related to drugs, drug use, and public policies. Deploying Safe Spaces, Metzineres offers a rich agenda of productive, cultural, creative, and leisure activities. Among the services provided is a space for accompanied consumption. Although it is not defined as a Supervised Consumption Room, it is a Social Space from which we claim ourselves as neighbors of the neighborhood. We also provide accompaniment and sociolegal advice to womxn who are in legal processes as a result of the war on drugs and the criminalization of poverty, always working from the logic of solidarity and mutual support among equals. The responsibility to generate genuine, accurate, and up-to-date information drives the team to equip themselves with non-intrusive research tools. It’s the womxn who decide how and when they share their biographies. The monitoring and evaluation method is applied as a routine process, allowing us to assess the quality and relevance of the interventions. A database is generated from criteria of technological sovereignty. In continuous construction, new metrics are collected, with indicators defined by recognizing them as experts in their realities.
Metzineres activism is combined with institutional work. In that sense, Metzineres has been recognized as a Specialized Intervention Service in violence against women for the Catalan Government. This recognition means that the vision of harm reduction is incorporated into the Comprehensive Network of Attention to Male Violence for the first time. I recognized, in addition, that the structural cause of the problems lies not in consumption but in trauma, social injustice, and inequality.

As a consequence of Metzinere's work, there are several impacts on drug policies, such as promoting cross-gender issues in drug-care plans or introducing harm reduction in the networks supporting women surviving violence.

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