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    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.

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    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.

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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.

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    Meet our staff at HRI

    Governance

    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

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    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.

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    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, 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.

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Guides and Policies

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Lifeline OD guide image

This section contains a small sample of the numerous guides and policies that have been written on overdose prevention – including guides written by civil society organisations (such as the Open Society Institute), documents written by national government agencies, and a guide from the World Health Organization.

Exchange Supplies (2009) Harm Reduction Works: Overdose (website).

This web-page is part of a UK campaign by Exchange Supplies and the National Treatment Agency entitles ‘Harm Reduction Works’. One of the specific focuses for this campaign is overdose, and this section includes a range of materials and information.

Click here to view this website

Guterman L & Curtis M (2009) Overdose Prevention and Response:
A Guide for People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction Staff in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (English). USA: Open Society Institute

This resource – produced by the International Harm Reduction Development programme in English and Russian – contains comprehensive guidance on the development and implementation of overdose prevention and response programmes by drug user activist groups and harm reduction organisations. The document particularly focuses on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but has global relevance. Along with practical information on managing overdose risks, it includes a sample training curricula and other useful materials for overdose prevention programming.

Click here to view this document

Guterman L & Curtis M (2009) Overdose Prevention and Response:
A Guide for People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction Staff in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Russian). USA: Open Society Institute

This resource – produced by the International Harm Reduction Development programme in English and Russian – contains comprehensive guidance on the development and implementation of overdose prevention and response programmes by drug user activist groups and harm reduction organisations. The document particularly focuses on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but has global relevance. Along with practical information on managing overdose risks, it includes a sample training curricula and other useful materials for overdose prevention programming.

Click here to view this document

Jenner L, Baker A, Whyte I & Carr V (2004) Psychostimulants - Management of Acute Behavioural Disturbances: Guidelines for Police Services. Australia, Commonwealth of Australia.

These guidelines were developed for use by police services throughout Australia to effectively and safely manage individuals who present with ‘psycho-stimulant toxicity’ (or overdose). Designed to be easily adapted, these guidelines may be useful to police and other non-medical responders to stimulant overdoses around the world. The guide includes a useful ‘decision tree’ for the management of individuals with suspected psycho-stimulant problems.

Click here to view this document

Lifeline (Date Unknown) Overdose: How to Cope in a Crisis. UK: Lifeline Publications.

This guide aims to provide information on overdose prevention in a predominantly graphic format that is accessible to those with lower levels of literacy. It includes such factors as recognising overdose, how to put someone into the recovery position, how to get appropriate help in an emergency, and advice on how to prevent overdoses.

Click here to view this guide

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (2004) Reducing Drug Related Deaths: Guidance for Drug Treatment Providers. UK: NTA.

This briefing paper sets out various strategies for reducing drug-related deaths from both short-term causes such as overdose and long-term causes such as illnesses caused by the transmission of blood-borne viruses. Although UK-focused, this paper shows how the National Treatment Agency responded to the high numbers of drug related deaths occurring in England and Wales, as outlined in the 2000 report from the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (which is included in Section 1 of this collection).

Click here to view this document

New York State Department of Health (2009) Opioid Overdose Prevention (website).

This online resource from New York State includes a number of useful guides and fact sheets. There is a fact sheet which provides a step-by-step guide to preventing and responding to opioid overdoses. There is also a set of ‘Guidelines for Policies and Procedures’ which includes sample policies for use and adaptation by programmes, and a set of ‘Guidelines for Training Responders’ which provides a curriculum for training non-medical responders to recognise suspected overdoses and take appropriate action. These documents were developed for use in New York, but are useful and can be adapted for programmes across the rest of the USA and the rest of the world.

Click here to view this website and its documents

Rome A, Shaw A & Boyle K (2008) Reducing Drug Users’ Risk of Overdose. UK: Scottish Government Social Research.

This report examines how to increase the number of witnesses to drug overdoses who call for help, and considered measures that could be effective in preventing deaths from overdoses. It includes a list of policy and practice recommendations aimed at reducing drug users’ risk of overdose which focus around improving services, information and training for emergency service staff, clinical professionals and families.

Click here to view this document

World Health Organization (2009) Guidelines for the Psychosocially Assisted Pharmacological Treatment of Opioid Dependence. Switzerland: WHO.

These international guidelines provide information for policy makers and service providers on psychologically assisted pharmacological treatment of opioid dependence. As well as outlining minimum standards for the use of maintenance therapies such as methadone and buprenorphine, the guidelines cover the use of naloxone as a treatment for opioid overdose. They state that the training alongside naloxone distribution to opioid users and their families is a feasible approach to reducing overdose mortality in the community. They liken the concept to the distribution of adrenaline to patients with severe allergic reactions and their families.

Click here to view this document