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

Improving Prison Conditions by Strengthening Infectious Disease Monitoring

A project by Harm Reduction International

Hands on Bars"The physical and mental health of detainees is particularly important, as imprisonment deprives them of the possibility to care for their health themselves, and can itself have a negative effect on detainees' physical and mental health....Visiting mechanisms should be aware of the key health problems facing prisoners [which] may well include, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and substance abuse." The Association for the Prevention of Torture, Monitoring Places of Detention: A Practical Guide.

Infectious diseases – in particular HIV, TB and HCV - are a major public health concern in prisons and places of detention. They are also a serious human rights concern.

Persons in detention retain all of their fundamental rights and freedoms while incarcerated, apart from those rights that are necessarily limited because of being in a closed environment. The spread of infectious diseases in prison engages several of these rights, including the right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, also known as ill treatment.

United Nations human rights bodies and the European Court of Human Rights are increasingly finding that issues relating to infectious diseases in detention can contribute to, or even constitute, conditions that meet the threshold of ill treatment. This includes the inadequate prevention, care or treatment or infectious diseases, the denial of harm reduction services, or conditions that aggravate or favour the spread of infectious diseases.

Several international, regional and national human rights mechanisms are in place to monitor and inspect prison conditions in order to prevent torture and ill-treatment – including the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT), under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), with National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs), as well as within the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe (CPT). Issues relating to healthcare, however, and specifically infectious diseases, do not appear to be a priority within monitoring practices.

“Improving Prison Conditions by Strengthening Infectious Disease Monitoring” is an EU co-funded project, led by Harm Reduction International with partners in seven European countries, aimed at addressing this important gap in prison monitoring practices. The project endeavours to reduce ill-treatment of persons in detention and improve prison conditions through enhanced and standardised monitoring and inspection mechanisms on infectious diseases (TB, HIV and HCV).

The project will map infectious diseases in prisons and current monitoring practices for prisoners’ health and human rights in Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Ireland, as well as existing regional and international public health and human rights standards relating to infectious diseases in prisons.

HRI, with the support of a number of experts in the field, will develop a user-friendly tool, including a set of key indicators, to generate better informed, more consistent, and sustained monitoring of infectious diseases in prisons by national, regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms.

Following the tool’s promotion and dissemination at national, regional and international levels, it is hoped that it will be widely adopted by human rights-based prison inspection bodies, leading to sustained improvements in prison conditions and overall health in prisons.

Organisations involved in the project are: Harm Reduction International (UK), in partnership with Antigone Onlus Associazione (Italy), Praksis Association (Greece), Latvian Centre for Human Rights (Latvia), Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland), University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) (Portugal), Observatorio del Sistema Penal y Los Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Barcelona (Spain), and the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT).

Cinzia Brentari, project coordinator

Gen Sander, researcher

EU flag This project is co-funded by the European Union under the Criminal Justice Programme.

Featured Resource:

See HRI's joint submission to OHCHR on the impact of drug policies in the criminal justice system