Skip to content
  • Menu
  • Harm Reduction Decade

    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

    10 by 20 Campaign

    Everything you need to know about the 10 by 20 campaign

    10 by 20 Pie Chart

  • 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.

  • News

    News and Announcements

    Read the latest announcements and updates from HRI.

  • About

    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

    An international environment supportive of harm reduction scale up

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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,, 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.

  • Support Us


    HRI relies on trusts, grants and donations to continue our work. To make a donation or pay membership fees, please use our secure payment page.

    Or why not fundraise for us with ‘Discover Adventure’?

    Contact Us

    Harm Reduction International
    Unit 2C09 Southbank Technopark
    90 London Road
    SE1 6LN  

    Tel: +44(0) 207 717 1592
    Fax: +44 (0) 207 922 8822
    Join us on facebook at: Harm Reduction International
    Or join us on Twitter at: HRInews


    Sign up to receive email updates, report launches, harm reduction advisories and information about the forthcoming international harm reduction conference

Calls for Russian not to join UN drugs agency, The World Today, ABC Radio

Date: 25 June 2010

  • Print
  • Bookmark and Share

Harm Reduction International's Damon Barrett on ABC radio and ex INCB member Brian Watters disagreeing

Apparently its doesn't matter who leads the UN agency responsible for HIV related to injecting drug use.

SHANE MCLEOD: The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is being urged to disregard Russia for a key position on the UN drugs agency.

An international coalition of anti-drug groups says it has credible information that a high level Russian diplomat Yuri Fedetov is set to be appointed to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

The association says Russia has an appalling record in dealing with drugs and appointing Fedetov would be a backward step.

Lindy Kerin reports.

LINDY KERIN: It's estimated around two million people in Russia regularly inject heroin and around 30,000 drug users die there every year.

It's because of these staggering figures that a global coalition of drug and HIV organisations is opposing Russia's bid to gain a position on the UN drugs agency.

Damon Barrett is a senior human rights analyst with the International Harm Reduction Association.

DAMON BARRETT: Russia's record on drug policies and in particular on HIV prevention among people who inject drugs is appalling. In Russia we have almost two million injecting drug users at this point, about 37 per cent HIV prevalence among them and a government that’s categorically refusing to do anything about it.

Now the reason that's a problem for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is because it's supposed to be the lead agency in the United Nations system for that particular issue. So to have a representative of the Russian government as the lead would be unthinkable from our perspective.

LINDY KERIN: The NGO working on drug related harm policies has joined more than 20 anti-drug and HIV groups in the campaign against Russia.

Damon Barrett says credible sources have told the group that Yuri Fedetov, a career diplomat from Russia is the front runner for a position with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Mr Fedetov is the current Russian Ambassador to the UK and has also been the deputy foreign minister.

DAMON BARRETT: Being so heavily involved with the government for so long the independence of the position would be affected. The UNDC needs credibility in order to take a lead on human rights and drugs and to take a lead on HIV and injecting drug use. And that credibility would immediately be shot with this particular candidate.

LINDY KERIN: So you've written to the UN General-Secretary about your concerns along with a wide range of other organisations. What's been the response so far?

DAMON BARRETT: There has been none so far. The letter only went out very recently.

I am not sure if we expect a direct response either. These processes at this level in the United Nations are notoriously lacking in transparency.

This information we found about Mr Fedetov's application for this job we learned by chance. From what we know there may be as many as 30 candidates going for the role and we don't know many of them.

The lack of transparency in this is one of our major, major concerns.

LINDY KERIN: Major Brian Watters has experience as Australia's representative on a different UN committee - the International Narcotics Control Board. But he resigned from the position in May.

He says the campaign against Russia is unfortunate.

BRIAN WATTERS: I mean Russia's a very, very important element in the whole problem of drugs in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe. It’s a country being used to transport drugs from Afghanistan and other places. They have huge drug problems themselves.

And it would seem very appropriate to have somebody from that country working with the United Nations office on drugs and crime. Russia has not got a good record in contemporary terms of dealing with harm reduction; that is providing alternatives and needle exchanges etc. But having him there within the fold rather than outside the fold would mean that he can be shown these and exposed to these other approaches to things which can only be helpful.

LINDY KERIN: Major Brian Watters has also rejected claims that the appointment of Russia's Yuri Fedetov would severely damage the credibility of the UN drug control agency.

BRIAN WATTERS: I think they're talking nonsense. It’s a huge office. It works under the conventions of the United Nations. It works very closely with the World Health Organization.

The head of the United Nations office on Drug and Crime Mr Costa has spoken at harm reduction conferences and speaks very, very clearly on the promotion of harm reduction strategies.

Now I mean having one man in an organisation like that is not going to change it. And the big hope is that they can change his approach to things.

LINDY KERIN: Criticism about the UN Office of Drugs and Crime comes as the organisation prepares to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking this Saturday.

SHANE MCLEOD: Lindy Kerin reporting.

blog comments powered by Disqus