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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 nine person Board of Directors, 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 outr 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.

Harm Reduction International Awards

Harm Reduction International presents a number of awards at outr international conference to acknowledge the contributions of outstanding groups or individuals in the field.

  •  The International Rolleston Award
  •  The National Rolleston Award
  •  The Carol and Travis Jenkins Award
  • The Brooklyn McNeil Rae of Hope Award
  •  The Film Festival Award
  •  Honoured Life Members Award

The International Rolleston Award

This award was first presented at the ‘3rd International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm’ in Melbourne in 1992. Each year, it is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to reducing harms from psychoactive substances at an international level.

The award is named after Sir Humphrey Rolleston, President of the Royal College of Physicians who chaired the UK Departmental Committee on Morphine and Heroin Addiction. In 1926 this committee concluded that the prescription of heroin or morphine could be regarded as legitimate medical treatment for those in whom withdrawal produces serious symptoms that cannot be treated satisfactorily under normal practice and, for those for who are able to lead a useful and fairly normal life so long as they take a certain non-progressive quantity, usually small, of the drug of addiction, but cease to be able to do so when the regular allowance is withdrawn. This decision epitomises a benign, pragmatic and humane approach to drug problems, and was a landmark event in the history of harm reduction.

Previous Winners

  • 1992 Dave Purchase (on behalf of North American Syringe Exchange, USA)
  • 1993 Ernie Drucker (USA)
  • 1994 Alex Wodak (Australia)
  • 1995 Anne Coppell (France)
  • 1996 Aaron Peak (Nepal)
  • 1997 Luigi Ciotti (Italy)
  • 1998 Nick Crofts (Australia)
  • 1999 Jean-Paul Grund (Netherlands)
  • 2000 Pat O'Hare (Italy)
  • 2001 Fabio Mesquita (Brazil)
  • 2002 Ethan Nadelmann (USA)
  • 2003 Ambros Uchtenhagen (Switzerland)
  • 2004 Anya Sarang (Russia)
  • 2005 Zunyou Wu (China)
  • 2006 Robert Newman (USA)
  • 2007 Vladimir Mendelevich (Russia)
  • 2008 Andrew Ball (Australia)
  • 2009 Ralf Jurgens (Canada) and Sam Friedman (USA)
  • 2010 Gerry Stimson (UK)
  • 2011 Jude Byrne (Australia) and Rich Needle (USA)
  • 2013 Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch (Poland/USA)
  • 2015 Edo Augustian Nasution (Indonesia)
  • 2017 Péter Sárosi and István Gábor Takács (Hungary)

The National Rolleston Award

This award was first presented at the ‘3rd International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm’ in Melbourne in 1992. Each year, it is given to an individual or organisation for their outstanding contributions to reducing harm from psychoactive substances at the national level in the country that is hosting the harm reduction conference.

Previous Winners

  • 1992 Les Drew (Australia)
  • 1993 Wijnand Mulder (Netherlands)
  • 1994 Catherine Hankins (Canada)
  • 1995 San Giuliano Unità di Strada (Italy)
  • 1996 The Australian IV League (Australia)
  • 1997 Alain Mucchielli (France)
  • 1998 Tarcisio Andrade (Brazil)
  • 1999 André Seidenberg (Switzerland)
  • 2000 Mike Wavell (Jersey)
  • 2001 Jimmy Dorabjee (India)
  • 2002 Tatja Kostnapfel-Rihtar (Slovenia)
  • 2003 Mae Chan Project (Thailand)
  • 2004 Tony Trimingham (Australia)
  • 2005 Des Flannagan (Northern Ireland)
  • 2006 The Drug User Advisory Group (Canada)
  • 2007 Marek Zygadlo (Poland)
  • 2008 Àmbit Prevenció (Spain)
  • 2009 Thai Drug Users’ Network (TDN) Founders (Thailand)
  • 2010 Russell Newcombe (UK)
  • 2011 Elie Aaraj (Lebanon)
  • 2015 Malaysian AIDS Council
  • 2017 Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) (Canada)

The Carol and Travis Jenkins Award

Since the 15th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm in Belfast (2005), this award has been presented each year to a current or former drug user who has made an outstanding contribution to reducing drug related harm.

The award was initially named after Travis Jenkins, the extraordinary jazz musician and composer who died of cancer in 2004. Travis Jenkins overcame a heroin addiction in order to marry and raise two sons, travel around the world with his anthropologist wife and create his music. For 2009, the award has been renamed the Carol and Travis Jenkins Award in memory of Carol Jenkins, who worked for many years with the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research as a medical anthropologist, and was one of the leading instigators to setting up the National Aids Council. Carol Jenkins was renowned for her research into sexual behaviour and was a leading expert on HIV and AIDS. Equally important was her connection with the Hagahai people of Papua New Guinea, who were her second family.

Previous Winners

  • 2005 Paisan Suwannawong (Thailand)
  • 2006 Jason Farrell (USA)
  • 2007 Alexandra (Sasha) Volgina (Russia)
  • 2008 Theo van Dam (Netherlands)
  • 2009 Holly Bradford (USA)
  • 2010 Joergen Kjaer (Denmark)
  • 2011 Tam Miller (Scotland)
  • 2013 Loon Gangte (India)
  • 2015 Abdur Raheem Rajaey (Afghanistan)
  • 2017 Lee Hertel (USA)

The Brooklyn Mcneil Rae of Hope Award

The Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation (CDPE - formerly the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy) launched the Brooklyn Mcneil Rae of Hope Award at HR17 in Montreal, to honour the best scientific abstract in the area of harm reduction or drug policy. The aim of the award is to encourage high-quality scientific research to support evidence-based advocacy efforts in drug policy reform. The winner will receives a waiver to publish in the peer-reviewed open-access Harm Reduction Journal, as well as 750 CAD.

The award is named after Brooklyn Rae Mcneil, a vocal advocate for safer injection sites and a vital support in the lives of many people who use drugs in Toronto, Canada. As a harm reduction activist whose life was cut too short as a result of an opioid overdose, Brooklyn’s spirit serves as an unwavering reminder of the need to conduct research and evidence-based advocacy to prevent the senseless loss of lives that could be avoided with drug policies grounded in evidence and human rights.

The CDPE is committed to improving community health and safety by conducting research and outreach on best practices in drug policy while working collaboratively with government stakeholders and affected communities to help guide effective and evidence-based policy responses to substance use. The CDPE sponsors the Brooklyn Mcneil Rae of Hope Award at every Harm Reduction International Conference.

Previous Winners

  • 2017 - Elaine Hyshka (Canada) - "A comparative analysis of provincial and territorial harm reduction policy in Canada​"

The Film Festival Award

This award is jointly presented by Harm Reduction International and the Burnet Institute (Australia) to the best film or documentary at the International Drugs and Harm Reduction Film Festival – which has run in parallel to the international harm reduction conference since 2004.

Previous Winners

  • 2004 “Hi Dad” - Theresa Wynnyk & Sherry McKibben (Canada)
  • 2005 “Mohammad and the Matchmaker” - Maziar Bahari (Iran)
  • 2006 “Worth Saving” - Gretchen Hildebran & Leah Wolchok (USA)
  • 2007 "FrontAids" - Eugene Zaharov and Sergey Bogatyrev (Russia)
  • 2008 "Harm reduction video, Cambodia – Injecting Drug Use"- David Eberhardt (USA)
  • 2009 "A Cleaner Fix"- David Gough
  • 2010 "Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict" Anne Rogers, Darren Teale & Ollie Lambert (UK)
  • 2011 "I'm Dangerous with Love" Michel Negroponte (USA)
  • 2015  "The hidden and forgotten plague - A film about hepatitis C in Sweden" Swedish Drug Users Union
Honoured Life Members Award

Harm Reduction International Board has created the Honoured Life Member award for people who have given 'outstanding and distinguished service to Harm Reduction International'. It recognises service to the organisation.

The first awards were presented at a special function during Harm Reduction 2010: Harm Reduction International’s 21st International Conference in Liverpool.

The awards were made to:

  • Ernie Drucker
  • Fabio Mesquita
  • Ernst Buning
  • Bill Nelles

© 2018 Harm Reduction International.

Charity number – 1117375 | Company number – 3223265

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