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About HRI

HRI is a leading non-governmental organisation working to reduce the negative health, social and human rights impacts of drug use and drug policy by promoting evidence-based public health policies and practices, and human rights based approaches to drugs. Read more about HRI’s history.

Vision and Mission

Our vision is a world in which individuals and communities benefit from drug laws, policies and practices that promote health, dignity and human rights.


Meet our staff at HRI


HRI is governed by a Board of Directors of up to nine people, who are elected for three-year terms.

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to reduce the harms associated with the use of psychoactive drugs in people unable or unwilling to stop. The defining features are the focus on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of drug use itself, and the focus on people who continue to use drugs.

Harm reduction definition and principles in 12 languages

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or queries about our website, our work, membership or the international harm reduction conference.


HRI benefits from the generous support of the Open Society Foundations, the European Commission, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the MAC AIDS Fund, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Bank, The Robert Carr Networks Fund and the Swiss Government.

Harm Reduction International Awards

HRI presents a number of awards at our international conference to acknowledge the contributions of outstanding groups or individuals in the field.

Strategic Plan

Our vision is a world in which individuals and communities benefit from drug policies, laws and practices that promote health, dignity and human rights

Our Work

Evidence for advocacy

HRI produces groundbreaking research and policy analysis informing advocacy across our sector.

Spending where it matters

Funding for harm reduction services is dangerously short while billions are wasted on drug enforcement. HRI works to assess resourcing needs and advocates for a reinvestment in health.

Harm Reduction Decade

Read our latest report calling for a Harm Reduction Decade, sign the Harm Reduction Decade Declaration, call for #10by20, and stand up for human rights of people who use drugs, their families and communities.

10 by 20 Campaign

We are calling on governments to redirect 10% of the resources currently spent on ineffective punitive responses to drugs and invest it in harm reduction by 2020.

Human rights-based policy

Human rights abuses and drug enforcement go hand in hand. HRI challenges laws, policies and practices that generate harm.

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences

HRI monitors the death penalty for drugs in law and practice worldwide, and also considers critical developments on the issue.

Sector strengthening

HRI builds advocacy coalitions and supports emerging harm reduction networks to strengthen the international harm reduction sector.

International conference

Harm reduction is a global movement. Our biennial gathering is the International Harm Reduction Conference, convened by HRI.


News and Announcements

Read the latest announcements and updates from HRI.

Global State of Harm Reduction

Global State of Harm Reduction

Our flagship publication is the biennial Global State of Harm Reduction report. First published in 2008, it involves a coordinated effort across practitioners, academics, advocates and activists to map global data and responses to HIV and hepatitis C epidemics related to unsafe injecting and non-injecting drug use. It is the only report to provide an independent analysis of the state of harm reduction in the world. The information collated within the report is stored and regularly updated on an interactive e-tool for researchers and advocates.

The Global State of Harm Reduction report is supplemented by regular thematic reports and advisories on key issues and emerging challenges. Please search our Resource Library for more information or join our e-list for regular updates.

Resource Library

Resource Library

Use our extensive resource library to search for HRI, NGO and academic reports, articles and presentations, including materials from past international conferences.

Harm Reduction Journal

Harm Reduction Journal, www.harmreductionjournal.com, is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal whose focus is on the prevalent patterns of psychoactive drug use, the public policies meant to control them, and the search for effective methods of reducing the adverse medical, public health, and social consequences associated with both drugs and drug policies.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Harm Reduction International
61 Mansell Street
E1 8AN

Tel: +44(0) 207 324 3535
Join us on Facebook at: Harm Reduction International
Follow us on Twitter at: HRInews
Join us on Instagram at: hrinews


Conference 2019

The 26th Harm Reduction International Conference (HR19) which will take place April 28-May 1 in Porto, Portugal at the Alfândega Porto Congress Centre.

Register to attend HR19 here.

10 by 20 Campaign

Interested in campaigning for harm reduction in your country? Find out more here.

10 by 20 logo

Why do we need action?

Harm reduction is an evidence-based and cost-effective approach. It aims to keep people who use drugs, their families and communities safe and healthy.

Harm reduction is about saving lives and it works!

A review published in The Lancet warned that global coverage of harm reduction interventions is critically low, with only 1% of people who inject drugs living in countries with high coverage. Moreover, the UN target to halve HIV transmission among PWID by 2015 was spectacularly missed and new HIV infections among people who inject drugs increased by one third between 2011-2015. 

Why now?

Harm Reduction International’s research shows that funding for harm reduction in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) totalled US$188 million in 2016, the same amount as in 2007 and just 13% of the $1.5 billion that UNAIDS estimates is required annually by 2020 for an effective response in LMICs.

In many countries, spending on drug control exceeds investment in harm reduction – globally, governments spend at least $100 billion every year on drug control.

HRI and the Burnet Institute found that redirecting just 7.5% of this $100 billion toward harm reduction services would lead to a 94% reduction in new HIV infections among people who use drugs and a 93% drop in HIV-related deaths by 2030.

These figures are a call to action!

What are we calling for?

HRI’s 10 by 20 campaign calls on governments to redirect 10% of the funding that they currently spend on drug control to lifesaving and cost-effective harm reduction interventions by 2020. This is consistent with UNAIDS recommendation that governments “undertake a rebalancing of investments in drug control to ensure that the resources needed for public health services are fully funded”.

To date, over 1,500 individuals and organisations have endorsed 10 by 20 campaign messages, including the former president of Switzerland Ruth Dreifuss and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

What will this achieve?

Even this small redirection of funding could achieve big results.

A 10% redirection of funding from drug control to harm reduction by 2020 would:

  • End AIDS among people who inject drugs by 2030.
  • Cover annual hepatitis C prevention need for people who inject drugs. Globally. Twice over.
  • Pay for enough naloxone to save thousands of lives every year from opioid overdose.
  • Dramatically increase harm reduction interventions in prisons, where coverage is lower and rates of HIV and HCV are higher than among the general population.
  • Strengthen networks of people who use drugs to provide peer services and campaign for their rights.

What will happen if we don’t act now?

Unless the funding landscape for harm reduction changes urgently, the SDG goal to end AIDS by 2030 and commitments from the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs will come and go as others have and the pledge to 'leave no one behind' will ring hollow. People's lives depend on action being taken. 

Additional resources

Launch 10 by 20 in your country

10by20 activist briefing cover

Download the 10 by 20 Booklet

10 by 20 booklet 2016

© 2018 Harm Reduction International.

Charity number – 1117375 | Company number – 3223265

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