This morning at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Harm Reduction International is launching its 10 by 20 campaign, calling on governments to redirect 10% of the resources they spend in the war on drugs to harm reduction.
Harm reduction interventions such as needle and syringe exchange and opioid substitution therapy are low cost but have remarkably high impact, keeping HIV infection rates low among people who inject drugs and saving lives and healthcare costs. Yet many countries still do not provide harm reduction and global funding for it amounts to just $160 million – only 7% of what is needed.
By contrast, each year governments spend over $100 billion waging an ineffective war on drugs. HRI is calling on countries to redirect just a tenth of this money to harm reduction.
The 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) presents a major opportunity to secure support for a global target of 10 by 20. With discussions about the UNGASS taking place this week, HRI is asking country delegations at the CND to ensure that health and harm reduction become central pillars in the UNGASS negotiations and is urging them to champion a global target of 10 by 20.