HR19 Porto 28 April - 1 May 2019

High-Level Speakers, Programme Confirmed for Harm Reduction International Conference 2019


OVERVIEW:The 26th Harm Reduction International Conference (HR19), set to take place in Porto, Portugal (28 April – 1 May), is delighted to announce its first round of high-level speakers and details of the conference programme.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • H.E. Jorge Sampaio, Former President of Portugal (1996-2016), member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy
  • Mary Chinery Hesse, Commissioner, West Africa Commission on Drugs
  • Raquel Duarte, Secretary of State for Health, Portugal
  • Ricardo Baptista Leite, MP, Portugal; President, UNITE – Global Parliamentarians Network
  • Professor Alexandre Quintanilha, President, Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science 

HR19 will convene over 1,000 delegates – including policy makers, UN officials, frontline health professionals, advocates, academics and networks of people who use drugs - from more than 70 countries around the world. It is the largest international forum to share the latest cutting-edge research and debates on best practice in drug policy, harm reduction and human rights.

Programme highlights include:

  • Three major plenary sessions, which will feature talks on documenting human rights abuses in the Philippines drug war, funding for the global HIV response, racial justice, drug policy reform in Africa and responses to the opioid crisis in North America, among others. 
  • Latest research on harm reduction for stimulants, including drug-checking and safer smoking kits.
  • Latest trends in responses to the opioid crisis, including research from an unsanctioned supervised injection sites in the US, responses to fentanyl use and moves toward prescription heroin. 
  • Latest research on human rights abuses in the name of drug control, including the death penalty for drug offences and compulsory detention. 
  • Special session organised by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, delving into policy reforms at the city level.
  • Harm reduction and cross-cutting issues, such as sex work, universal health coverage, social justice and others. 

The programme, which will receive updates and additions in the coming weeks, can be viewed online here.

MEDIA REGISTRATION: Accredited journalists who wish to attend the conference are invited to apply for a media pass as soon as possible here.

Media registration permits entry to all conference sessions, the exhibition and poster area, the opening and closing sessions, and the media centre. Conference registration fees are waived for all accredited journalists who attend.

For journalists unable to attend, there will be opportunities to cover the conference virtually. Updates will be provided throughout HR19, and select plenaries and press conferences will be live-streamed. Please indicate your interest to cover the conference virtually here.

A full press programme, including details of HR19 press conferences, will be available soon.  

WHO: HR19 is organised by Harm Reduction International, a leading NGO dedicated to reducing the negative health, social and legal impacts of drug use and drug policy, in partnership with Agência Piaget para o Desenvolvimento (APDES).

WHEN: Sunday, 28 April – Wednesday, 1 May 2019

WHERE: Alfândega Porto Congress Centre, Porto, Portugal 

ABOUT THE HARM REDUCTION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: The conference first took place in 1990 in Liverpool, and is now held biennially in a different city around the world. 

HR19 will be a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about the public health and rights advances made under Portugal’s ground breaking model that decriminalised drug use in 2001. The conference theme, ‘People before Politics,’ will underpin all HR19 activities and highlight the importance of putting public health and people’s lives before political ideology.

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