Harm reduction is a set of strategies that aim to reduce negative consequences of drug use, by mitigating the potential dangers and health risks. UNODC has significantly expanded its HIV/AIDS programme thanks to support from harm reduction-friendly donor countries, despite ambiguities on the issue within UN drug control agencies. There is a need for up-scaling of basic services for HIV/AIDS prevention and the 'frontline' of heroin prescription and drug consumption rooms.

  • From the Mountaintops

    What the World Can Learn from Drug Policy Change in Switzerland
    Joanne Csete
    Open Society Foundations
    October 2010

    Published by the Open Society Foundations, this report looks at how evidence-based services such as heroin treatment, injection rooms, and needle exchange can lower HIV infection rates, improve health outcomes, and lower crime rates.

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  • If Supply-Oriented Drug Policy is Broken, Can Harm Reduction Help Fix It?

    Melding Disciplines and Methods to Advance International Drug Control Policy
    Victoria Greenfield & Letizia Paoli
    United States Naval Academy Department of Economics
    Working Paper 30
    August 2010

    Critics of the international drug control regime contend that supply-oriented policy interventions are not just ineffective, but they also produce unintended adverse consequences. Research suggests their claims have merit. Lasting local reductions in opium production are possible, albeit rare; but, unless global demand shrinks, production will shift elsewhere, with little or no effect on the aggregate supply of heroin and, potentially, at some expense to exiting and newly emerging suppliers.

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  • Heroin Assisted Treatment

    The state of play
    Christopher Hallam
    International Drug Policy Consortium Briefing Paper
    July 2010

    This briefing paper explores the question of Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT), examines the growing body of evidence emerging from its clinical use in addiction therapies, and makes recommendations for policy makers.

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  • The Vienna Declaration

    The Vienna Declaration is a statement seeking to improve community health and safety by calling for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. We are inviting scientists, health practitioners and the public to endorse this document in order to bring these issues to the attention of governments and international agencies, and to illustrate that drug policy reform is a matter of urgent international significance. We also welcome organizational endorsements.

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  • The Safer Crack Use Program

    Fact sheet
    Toronto Public Health
    June 2010

    This fact sheet explains the Safer Crack Use Program of the Public Health Department of Toronto (Canada). In Toronto, a range of community-based, government and institutional agencies deliver harm reduction services. As with other harm reduction measures, there is no evidence that the distribution of safer crack use kits encourages drug use. Only people who are already using crack cocaine participate in the Safer Crack Use Program.

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  • What is harm reduction?

    A position statement from the International Harm Reduction Association
    International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA)
    May 2010

    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.

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  • Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence

    Evidence from a Scientific Review
    Dan Werb, Greg Rowell, Gordon Guyatt, Thomas Kerr, Julio Montaner, Evan Wood
    International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP)
    April 2010

    This report consists of a scientific review that illustrates the relationship between drug law enforcement and drug-related violence. Violence is among the primary concerns of communities around the world, and research from many settings has demonstrated clear links between violence and the illicit drug trade, particularly in urban settings. While violence has traditionally been framed as resulting from the effects of drugs on individual users (e.g., drug-induced psychosis), violence in drug markets and in drug-producing areas such as Mexico is increasingly understood as a means for drug gangs to gain or maintain a share of the lucrative illicit drug market.

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  • Harm reduction: evidence, impacts and challenges

    Tim Rhodes and Dagmar Hedrich (eds)
    European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
    April 2010

    This EMCDDA monograph provides a comprehensive overview of the harm reduction field. The core audience of the monograph comprises policymakers, healthcare professionals working with drug users, as well as the wider interested public.

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  • The Global State of Harm Reduction 2010

    Key Issues for Broadening the Response
    International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA)
    April 2010

    The report provides a region-by-region update of key developments in harm reduction. It also explores several issues key to the response to drug-related harms worldwide, including increasing access to harm reduction in prisons and other places of detention, reaching people who use drugs with diagnosis, treatment and care for viral hepatitis and tuberculosis, preventing overdose-related mortality among people who use drugs, preventing and treating injecting-related bacterial infections, expanding the response to harms related to amphetamine use and addressing the current shortage of funds for harm reduction worldwide.

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  • The Andalusian trial on heroin-assisted treatment

    A 2 year follow-up
    Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, Joan C. March, Manuel Romero & Emilio Perea-Milla
    Drug and Alcohol Review, 29, 75–80
    January 2010

    In 2003, a randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing injected diacetylmorphine and oral methadone was carried out in Andalusia, Spain. The subsequent follow-up study evaluated the health and drug use status of participants, 2 years after the completion of the trial. This follow-up cohort study was carried out between March and August 2006. Data collected included information on socio-demographics, drug use, health and health-related quality of life. Patients who received HAT showed better outcomes compared with those not on HAT. The results of this study strengthen the evidence showing that HAT can improve and stabilise the health of long-term heroin users with severe comorbidities and high mortality.

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