25 April 2017

Harm Reduction Investment in the European Union: Current funding, challenges and successes

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Europe is the birthplace of harm reduction, and the region where the successes of this approach in averting epidemics can be most plainly seen. It includes harm reduction champion countries, that have long invested in their national harm reduction programmes and implement a wide array of interventions.

However, austerity, international donor retreat and poor political support are severely limiting harm reduction responses in several countries in the EU. In some states, there is a funding crisis for harm reduction which must be addressed if public health emergencies are to be avoided.

 This report summarises research findings from Harm Reduction Works!, providing a snapshot of harm reduction investment in eighteen EU member states. It includes findings from spend tracking research in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Estonia, Portugal, Hungary and Lithuania.

Using a simple traffic light system, countries are categorised as either red, amber or green on four criterion, providing an at-a-glance indication of the health of harm reduction funding in a country. The report provides recommended actions to increase the sustainability of harm reduction funding within the European Union.

Harm Reduction Works! is a two-year EC-funded project coordinated jointly by HRI and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network. The project aims to increase the knowledge and capacity of civil society to advocate for strategic investment in rights-based harm reduction programming across the European Union.

EU FlagThis project is co-funded by the European Union under the Drug Prevention and Information Programme.

Click here to read about Harm Reduction Works! events held in Budapest, Hungary and Porto, Portugal in 2016 to highlight research findings and to explore challenges to sustainable harm reduction funding in Europe.

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