COVID-19 and Harm Reduction Programme Implementation: Sharing Experiences in Practice (Webinar)

Médecins du Monde Harm Reduction, April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound effect on the provision of health services across the globe and is further magnifying the existing barriers faced by people who use drugs in accessing harm reduction services. Programmes have had to adapt, and efforts are being made to enhance accessibility and ensure the continuity of harm reduction services in a context that is changing daily.

But what does this look like in reality, and what practical measures can be put in place to ensure that people who use drugs continue to have access to the services and support that they need?

The aim of this webinar is to facilitate an interactive discussion and share experiences on how to maintain and adapt harm reduction services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers will discuss:

• The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people who use drugs and their use of services

• Community mobilisation and advocacy by people who use drugs

• Examples of how harm reduction programmes such as OST and NSP are continued in some countries

Organisers: Médecins du Monde, International Network of People Who Use Drugs, Harm Reduction International, European Network of People Who Use Drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization.

Preparing for work with children and young people who inject drugs

 International Harm Reduction Association, 2016

Globally, the protection and care of children and young people who inject drugs receives little attention. It is a controversial and often misunderstood issue and one that is severely under-funded. Global research presents shocking figures and evidence of restrictive laws preventing young people from accessing harm reduction. Rarely are services developed with children under 18 in mind, and organisations often lack capacity to attend to this highly vulnerable group. Young people also report experiencing significant barriers to accessing harm reduction services when they are under 18 due to a number of factors, including staff attitudes and organisational policies and practices.

This tool is a product of a partnership between Harm Reduction International (HRI), Youth Rise, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Save the Children and was developed in response to HRI research on injecting drug use among under 18s globally that highlighted gaps in the response for this group.

This resource is intended for harm reduction service providers with limited experience of working with children and young people who inject drugs. It sets out a process that you can go through quickly, with little cost, to prepare for work with children and young people who are under 18. It is designed to help your organisation and staff to feel safe in commencing this work, and to support you in thinking through the challenging situations and decisions that you face. In some cases, it may lead you to decide that you are not yet ready to go ahead with this work.


Step 1: Exploring attitudes and sharing concerns
Step 2: Assessing the policy and legal environment
Step 3: Understanding key principles for working with children and young people
Step 4: Exploring your current capacity to work with children and young people who inject drugs
Step 5: Assessing the needs of children and young people who inject drugs
Step 6: Determining your organisation’s capacity to provide key services
Step 7: Mapping other available services
Step 8: Considering the impacts on staff
Step 9: Policies to assist children and young people who inject drugs
Step 10: Developing your policy

Download tool (PDF) here