Eberhard Schatz is the head of an Amsterdam-based harm reduction NGO, AMOC, which operates a drop-in and consumption room for injecting drug users with foreign nationality. According to the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, consumption rooms can successfully reduce drug related harms, especially drug overdoses and HIV infections.
Harm reduction is a pragmatic and compassionate approach to people who use licit and illicit drugs. As a principle it is applied in several other areas of life, for example when you fasten your seat-belts in a car to reduce the risk of injuries. Policies and services based on harm reduction respect the dignity and freedom of human beings and help them to stay healthy and alive even if they choose to continue using drugs. A very obvious example is to distribute clean needles among people who use drugs to prevent hepatitis C and HIV infections. Harm reduction programs should be part of an integrated social and healthcare system. But harm reduction is much more than just a set of services - it is a movement for freedom and social justice applied in the field of drug policy. Drugreporter is a chronicle of this movement.
Robyn Few is the Director of SWOP-USA, and co-founder of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, held on December 17th each year. SWOP helps sex workers and their organizations organize to protect their rights and fight against stigmatization and discrimination.
Mike Trace is currently the Co-Director of the Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme and Chief Executive at RAPT (Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust), one of the UK’s foremost providers of drug addiction treatment.
Ethan Nadelmann is the executive director of the largest drug policy reform organization in the U.S., the Drug Policy Alliance (www.drugpolicy.org ). Earlier he was a professor at the Princeton University.
Mauro is a well-known Italian AIDS activist who previously worked as a chair of GNP+, an advocate group, and recently works for the International Harm Reduction Development Program of the Open Society Institute.
Anya Sarang is a founding member of the Russian Harm Reduction Network – an organization promoting harm reduction in the Russian Federation..
Dr. Bijan Nassirimanesh is a medical doctor, one of the founders of Persepolis, the first NGO providing needle exchange service in Iran.
Milena Naydenova is an active drug user, founding member of a user group in Bulgaria and a member of the Internal Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), www.inpud.org
Stijn is the head of the International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), more info: www.inpud.org
Report from the International Drug Policy Reform Conference, New Orleans.