Together for a Harm Reduction oriented policy

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Driving Change: Diverse Coalition Advances Health-centered Drug Policy at the 4th Expert Meeting on Harm Reduction

The 4th Expert Meeting on Harm Reduction in Drug Policy, which took place on May 25, 2022, brought together an international and diverse group of nearly 80 participants. This half-day online event stood out for its inclusive nature, as it successfully united government officials, UN agencies, scholars, and representatives from civil society.

A multitude of organisations made their mark during this meeting. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) highlighted the role of Harm Reduction in their Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026: End Inequalities, End AIDS. They emphasised the need for collaborative efforts between civil society and governments to achieve the outlined goals.


Equally impressive was the contribution of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), who shared valuable insights from their newly minted Synthetic Drugs Strategy 2021-2025. Their toolkit designed for Member States offered a wealth of information on treatment, care, and overdose prevention specifically targeted at synthetic drugs.


Harm Reduction International stands as a pivotal force in championing a health-centered approach to global drug policy practice. Their invaluable contributions were prominently demonstrated through the presentation of their latest Global State of Harm Reduction report. This comprehensive report serves as a vital monitoring tool, meticulously tracking the adoption and implementation of Harm Reduction practices worldwide since 2008, with updates provided every two years. Furthermore, Harm Reduction International showcased their esteemed Global Drug Policy Index, underscoring the organisation's commitment to shaping evidence-based drug policies at a global level.


A special presentation by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) shifted the focus to Ukraine, shining a spotlight on the remarkable support provided to key populations amidst the backdrop of war. This eye-opening account showcased the resilience and dedication of those working on the frontlines of harm reduction.

Adding even more depth to the meeting were expert insights on the implementation of Drug Checking services in Colombia and Switzerland. These groundbreaking services offered early warning data on potentially harmful drug market trends, prioritizing the right to health for individuals.


Overall, the 4th Expert Meeting on Harm Reduction in Drug Policy served as a valuable platform for stakeholders to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and promote a health-centered approach to drug policy worldwide.


The forum was first launched by the GPDPD in 2016 and co-organised by the International Drug Policy Consortium, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board of Thailand, and Harm Reduction International. As more countries, the European Union, and the United Nations advocate for a health-oriented drug policy in their national strategies, the importance of this gathering continues to grow.