Failure To Fund: The continued crisis for harm reduction funding in low- and middle-income countries

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Governments have committed to ending AIDS and tuberculosis, eliminating viral hepatitis and providing universal access to health care by 2030. We will not reach these goals without the leadership of people who use drugs and a fully funded harm reduction response.

Since Harm Reduction International commenced monitoring funding for harm reduction almost 15 years ago, the findings have been consistently dire. Available funding continues to be so far from meeting estimated need that the funding ‘gap’ is more accurately described as a failure to fund. The total number of international donors investing in harm reduction remains small, and the total funds invested by international donors appears to be shrinking. At national level, more data has become available on domestic funding for harm reduction. However, spending on drug law enforcement and imprisonment continues to dwarf investment in harm reduction; with case studies showing over 600 times more spent on punitive policies.

This report explores the state of harm reduction funding in low- and middle-income countries, drawing upon existing public data on domestic funding and information collected from international harm reduction donors. The data shows that we are further away from meeting the needs of people who use drugs than ever before.

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