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Drugs and Health

The legal, social and political context within which drug use takes place can have implications for health.

Harm reduction supports people to make positive choices for their health in the context of drug use. This includes HIV and viral hepatitis prevention, overdose prevention, as well other general health care services which can help people who use drugs achieve physical, mental and social well-being.


of people who inject drugs are under 25 years old


of people who inject drugs are living with HIV

>275 million

people use drugs every year

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We conduct original research and analysis to track developments in harm reduction and ensure that people who use drugs have access to the health and social services they need.

The Global State of Harm Reduction

Harm reduction services take many different forms, including information and peer support, HIV prevention, treatment and care, overdose prevention and inclusive housing. To be effective, these services need to be available, accessible and of high quality.

We monitor the implementation of harm reduction services, policies and programmes so we can highlight where services are particularly effective and where there are gaps in services and policy.

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Innovations in Harm Reduction

Drugs, drug use, and the social context within which drug use takes place are constantly changing. Harm reduction needs to evolve to respond to the needs of people who face intersectional vulnerability through tailored approaches and new ways of delivering programmes.

We highlight innovative, evidence-based responses to drug use.

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Health, Human Rights and the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities, disproportionately impacting marginalised and criminalised populations.

We track government responses to COVID-19, the pandemic treaty process, and the use of emergency powers. We document the critical role of community and civil society in service delivery and global health governance, and advocate for evidence and rights-based responses.

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Drugs and Viral Hepatitis

People who use drugs are at greater risk of acquiring hepatitis B and hepatitis C. This can be related to sharing drug use equipment as well as sexual activities. Harm reduction interventions are an essential to the global commitment to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030.

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