At least 93 countries and territories support, or tolerate a harm reduction approach in policy or programming. Harm reduction is endorsed and promoted by key multilateral agencies such as the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Harm reduction programmes are funded internationally by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and by overseas aid departments of several governments including the UK, Australia and the Netherlands. However, current coverage levels are extremely poor in much of the world.
Globally, it is estimated that only two sterile needles are available per month for each person who injects drugs. It is estimated that there are between six and twelve recipients of opioid substitution therapy for every 100 people who inject drugs, and that for every 100 people who inject drugs living with HIV only four are receiving anti-retroviral treatment. Current funding for harm reduction is estimated to amount to only 3 US cents per day per person injecting drugs.
Harm Reduction International’s Public Health Programme works with harm reduction networks, wider civil society and multilateral agencies to promote an increased international commitment to harm reduction, including:
- Increased resourcing for harm reduction programming and advocacy
- Increased engagement of people who use drugs and harm reduction organisations in multilateral decision making processes
- Challenging laws and policies that act as barriers to effective harm reduction programming