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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.

Interactive e-tool

Global State of Harm Reduction’ e-tool is an interactive resource containing up-to-date information on harm reduction policy and programming around the world. Users can select countries or regions and create tables for an at-a-glance guide to the current state of harm reduction worldwide.

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
Unit 2C09 Southbank Technopark
90 London Road
SE1 6LN  

Tel: +44(0) 207 717 1592
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: Questions for leaders on World AIDS Day

Date: 30 November 2011

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This December 1st, as with every other year, will see political speeches and statements from high level UN officials and others in positions of power and influence reaffirming their commitment to stopping HIV in its tracks, and sending out messages of hope and how much we’ve achieved. This year we will hear that the first AIDS free generation since the discovery of HIV may be a reality. But we are unlikely to hear what counts. As with every year, we are left more questions than answers.

To the richest nations: Where is the money you pledged?

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria has been eviscerated. With the world’s richest nations reneging on their pledges made time and again to make sure the Global Fund was adequately financed, the budget of the organisation has been halved, meaning that there will be no new grants until 2014. This is a catastrophe that will cost many, many lives. No politician from a donor state that has so betrayed the most vulnerable, the poorest and most marginalised, can stand in front of the cameras this World AIDS Day and say anything unless it is an explanation for this.

To PEPFAR: When will you begin spending on HIV-related harm reduction? 

Harm Reduction International carried out a study in 2009 on funding for the basics of HIV-related harm reduction in low and middle income countries. We estimated that funding had to scale up approximately twenty fold to a paltry $3 billion annually to meet need. At that time the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) had not spent a single penny on needle and syringe programmes. This was due to a previous ban on such funding, which President Obama’s administration lifted. In 2011 still not a single needle has been purchased by PEPFAR. Why not? And who answers for this? No strategy to fight HIV is complete unless it addresses all routes of transmission. Unless services for people who inject drugs are adequately resourced, there can be no AIDS free generation.

To governments all over the world: Why do you persist in criminalising those most at risk?

We know and have known for too long that no-one can criminalise their way out of a public health problem. There can be no better example of this than HIV related to unsafe injecting practices. We know that criminalising drug use and possession, criminalising carrying paraphernalia such as needles and syringes, focusing efforts on law enforcement over public health, and filling prisons with people who use drugs fuels HIV epidemics while squandering the limited funds available. Meanwhile we know that in the decades that drug use and possession have been crimes there has been no reduction in prevalence of drug use, and only an upsurge in drug related harms. Almost every country in the world is complicit in this state of affairs that so damages HIV prevention efforts. 

To the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime: Where is your public commitment to harm reduction?

Mr Fedotov, you are in charge of the lead agency within UNAIDS for HIV related to injecting drug use. In 2010 you took office with a pledge to focus on health and human rights. Since then the words ‘harm reduction’ have not emerged in any of your speeches or in official statements from your office, despite harm reduction being a proven public health intervention and a recognised aspect of the right to health. HIV prevention has dropped significantly in prominence from the public output of the UNODC. Instead you share high level platforms with the Russian government, but fail to criticise its rejection of the very policies your office is supposed to lead the UNAIDS family in promoting, and from which about a third of the entire budget of your office is derived. Are your HIV donors satisfied with your performance?

To the Russian Government: How can you so neglect your own people?

As networks of people who use drugs gather at Russian embassies in eight countries today we ask the Russian government: how can you continue to neglect some of the most vulnerable and at risk people in your nation? How can you ban opioid substitution therapy until 2020 when its is so well supported by scientific studies as an effective HIV prevention measure, when krokodil is tearing its way through people’s lives, and when 30,000 people a year die from overdose? How can you fail to fund needle and syringe programmes when your country is currently the global cautionary tale for HIV prevention, experiencing the worst epidemic in the region? Russia is not alone in failing to adequately scale up harm reduction. But it is by far the worst case. 

It need not be this way. We need not have next to no money for the AIDS response. We need not have criminal laws that get so fundamentally in the way of what is needed and what is right. We need not have leaders who refuse to even say the right thing. We need not have governments adopting policies that kill their own. But today we will get speeches and pledges, and nothing of what matters.

© 2018 Harm Reduction International.

Charity number – 1117375 | Company number – 3223265

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