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.

  • Smoking of crack cocaine as a risk factor for HIV infection among people who use injection drugs

    Kora DeBeck et. al.
    Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)
    October 27, 2009

    This paper examined whether use of crack cocaine has become a risk factor for HIV infection. Smoking of crack cocaine was found to be an independent risk factor for HIV seroconversion among injection drug users. This finding points to the urgent need for evidence-based public health initiatives targeted at people who smoke crack cocaine. Innovative interventions that have the potential to reduce HIV transmission in this population, including the distribution of safer crack kits and medically supervised inhalation rooms, need to be evaluated.

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  • Evaluation of Dutch Drug Policy

    English summary
    Margriet Van Laar (Trimbos-instituut) & Marianne van Ooyen-Houben (WODC) eds.
    Trimbos-instituut (Utrecht) / WODC (The Hague)
    June 2009

    The main purpose of this evaluation was to determine to what extent the principal goal of Dutch drug policy has been achieved, as stated in the 1995 Policy Document on Drugs (Drugsnota). This asserts the primacy of protecting public health, and thus gives priority to drugs prevention and to the management of the individual and social risks that arise from drug use.

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  • At What Cost?

    HIV and Human Rights Consequences of the Global "War on Drugs"
    International Harm Reduction Development Program
    Open Society Institute
    March 2009

    A decade after governments worldwide pledged to achieve a "drug-free world," there is little evidence that the supply or demand of illicit drugs has been reduced. Instead, aggressive drug control policies have led to increased incarceration for minor offenses, human rights violations, and disease. The book, published by the Open Society Institute (OSI), examines the descent of the global war on drugs into a war on people who use drugs. From Puerto Rico to Phnom Penh, Manipur to Moscow, the scars of this war are carried on the bodies and minds of drug users, their families, and the health and service providers who work with them.

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  • Harm Reduction Policy and Practice Worldwide

    An overview of national support for harm reduction in policy and practice
    International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA)
    February 2009

    The overview lists the countries and territories around the world that support harm reduction in policy or practice.

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  • Harm Reduction and Human Rights

    The Global Response to Drug-Related HIV Epidemics
    HR2 - Harm Reduction and Human Rights
    January 2009

    IHRA’s HR2 programme released a report entitled ‘Harm Reduction and Human Rights: The Global Response to Drug-Related HIV Epidemics’. The report provides a concise overview of the global situation in terms of drug-related HIV epidemics worldwide, with a particular focus on the regions of Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub Saharan Africa.

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  • International Support for Harm Reduction

    An overview of multi-lateral endorsement of harm reduction policy and practice
    International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) & Human Rights Watch (HRW)
    January 2009

    A useful overview of UN endorsement of harm reduction measures; the legality of harm reduction services under the Drug Conventions; the obligation in human rights law to ensure access to harm reduction services and the global state of harm reduction, listing 82 countries and territories worldwide that presently support or tolerate harm reduction.

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  • Towards a harm reduction approach to enforcement

    Jonathan P Caulkins and Peter Reuter
    Safer Communities Volume 8 Issue 1
    January 2009

    Harm-reduction as a policy goal implies targeting directly drug-related harms rather than drug use itself. So far it has been largely a public health sector movement, focused on harms to users, most notably from heroin overdose, injection drug use and club drugs. Harm-reduction has offered fewer solutions to the problems of drug-related crime, violence, corruption or market externalities. However, harm-reduction has potentially much broader application when applied to the entire suite of harms generated by the production, distribution, consumption and control of drugs, not just drug use.

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  • Opportunities to learn and barriers to change

    Crack cocaine use in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver
    Susan Boyd, Joy L. Johnson and Barbara Moffat
    Harm Reduction Journal 2008, 5:34
    November 17, 2008

    In 2004, a team comprised of researchers and service providers launched the Safer Crack Use, Outreach, Research and Education (SCORE) project in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The project was aimed at developing a better understanding of the harms associated with crack cocaine smoking and determining the feasibility of introducing specific harm reduction strategies.

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  • Distributing safer crack use kits in Canada

    Questions & Answers
    Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
    September 2008

    A number of public health departments and community organizations in Canada distribute safer crack use kits to people who use crack cocaine. The kits typically include mouthpieces, glass stems and screens, as well as condoms and referral information for other health and support services. This document outlines why such health programs are needed and answers a number of legal questions related to the distribution of safer crack use kits.

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  • Characterization of the crack cocaine culture in the city of São Paulo: a controlled pattern of use

    Lúcio Garcia de Oliveira and Solange Aparecida Nappo
    Revista Saúde Pública
    July 2008

    In the city of São Paulo, the culture of crack use has undergone considerable changes over these 11 years since it was first described. The sociodemographic profile of the users is practically the same and most use is still compulsive, with significant physical, moral and social impairment among them. Sole use of crack has overwhelmingly been replaced by associations between crack and other drugs, thus characterizing users in the city of São Paulo as multiple drug users.

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