UK Harm Reduction Alliance - UKHRA. What is harm reduction? Click here...

UKHRA position statements & responses

UKHRA seeks to influence public policy and practice in many ways. Where possible we respond to Government consultation on proposed policy and law changes, we also aim to publish guidance and proposals on policy and practice issues.

This page links to the responses, policy proposals and statements UKHRA has made:

To see the joint UKHRA/NNEF response to the Coalition's drug strategy, click here.

A consensus best practice statement has been published by the National Needle Exchange Forum, UK Harm Reduction Alliance and Exchange Supplies in response to the increasing numbers of requests for a document to set out the principles by which needle and syringe supply should be organised.

We submitted it to the NTA in October 2006 as part of their review of harm reduction with a recommendation that they publish it, or something like it in order to ensure that there is no doubt in the minds of comissioners or providers as to what constitutes good (and bad) practice.

To download the consensus statement, click here

To read the online version, click here.

consensus statement defining best practice in needle exchange


UKHRA Stakeholder Questionnaire Survey - download our findings Click here to download survey in pdf format

UKHRA Stakeholder Interviews - download our findings
Click here to download survey in pdf format

Consultation on Northern Ireland drug strategy

31.03.06: For diverse reasons, Northern Ireland's drug services are seriously out of step with many aspects of good practice now taken for granted elsewhere in the UK.
Northern Ireland's Department of Health, Social services and Public Safety have recently consulted on its draft "New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs 2006-2011" (

To read UKHRA's response, click here

To download a Word version of the response, click here.

UK Diamorphine shortage

14.09.05: UKHRA calls for urgent action to end the shortage of injectable diamorphine that is causing serious hardship and risking the lives of drug users whose treatment has been stopped or changed.

To read the full statement, click here.

To download a Word version of the statement, click here.

US pressure to silence United Nations support for harm reduction and needle exchange - response update

UKHRA is a signatory organisation to the open letter to the delegates of the Forty-eighth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which was submitted on March 1st 2005. See the dowloadable pdf file (available here) for details of the full list of signatories. Thanks to all who signed up. Further updates will be be posted as things develop.

download pdf file

US pressure to silence United Nations support for harm reduction and needle exchange. For full infromation on this issue, and an open letter from Gerry Stimson of the International Harm Reduction Association to delegates of the Forty-eighth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), click here.

Blood borne viruses and needle and syringe provision.
UKHRA has mailed a copy of an important recent paper published in the British Medical Journal: 'Incidence of hepatitis C virus and HIV among new injecting drug users in London: prospective cohort study' to over 3000 agencies throughout the UK. For more details and to download/read the paper, click here.

UKHRA has issued a position statement on abstinence oriented drug education programmes. To read it, click here.

To read the UKHRA response to the Strategic Framework and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C in Northern Ireland, click here.

Protest at award for Thai prime minister
Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Institute have jointly issued the letter below. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been granted the annual 'International Forgiveness Award' by the Italian organization Instituzione Perdonanza Celestiniana for his 'treatment of drug abusers as patients, not criminals.' A group of more than 50 organizations from Asia, Europe, and the Americas has produced this letter of protest calling for the award to be withdrawn.

Due to an unfortunate oversight, UKHRA did not make it onto the list of signatories, but we very much wanted to be represented there and are keen to make the letter as widely available as possible.

To download and view the letter (as a .pdf file), click here.

UKHRA has prepared a statement on diversity to inform the current debate. To see our draft statement on diversity issues, click here.

UKHRA endorses the consensus statement on problem drug use and social re-integration agreed by delegates attending the European Summer University: Drugs, Inclusion and Employment, Glasgow, 28 ­ 30 June 2004 organised by T3E. To read it click here.

UKHRA wrote to the Danish Authorities in support of Joergen Kjaer a leading drug user activist who was arrested and charged with possession of heroin that he was holding for friends and fellow activists when setting off for an annual gathering/holiday. To read the letter click here.

Unfortunately the letter only had limited impact and Joergen was sentenced to 14months in prison - with a probable release date of June 2005.

Definition of Harm Reduction       
click here

Many responses to drug use have been defined at some time as 'harm reduction', and this has led to confusion as to what harm reduction actually is. In order to clarify the situation UKHRA has prepared a definition of harm reduction, and identified the core principles of harm reduction.


In 2001 UKHRA along with other organisations issued a warning about the introduction of Difficult To Reuse Syringes (DTRS). The position of UKRHA on this issue remains unchanged. To read the statement, click here.


From the archives:
The speech that started it all off, and the original declaration of principle. Now online, the full text of the speech given by Gerry Stimson at the Methadone Alliance Conference Methadone and Beyond: expanding and exploring drug treatment options on the 22nd March 2000 in London. This speech led to a meeting of harm reduction activists at the international harm reduction conference in Jersey, and a meeting in Manchester where our first declaration of principle was drafted.

To read the article, click here.
To read the original declaration of principle, click here.


UKHRA is supporting an international day of action in support of Thai drug users on 12th June (please note, this is a new date). For more information on the planned actions please click here.

There is also more information, and discussion about responses on the UKHRA
discussion list, to join, click here.

UKHRA has responded to the Department of Health on the Office of Fair Trading report which recommended increased competition and freedom for supermarkets to be able to provide pharmacy services. We believe that this could have a negative impact on needle and syringe provision and methadone dispensing. To read the full text of our response, click here. To read the latest update on this issue, click here.

UKHRA has prepared a formal response to the Home Office consultation on section 9a of the misuse of drugs act ­ the 'paraphernalia law' that advocates the repeal of this unhelpful legislation. To read it click here.

Response of the UK Harm Reduction Alliance to the Hepatitis C Strategy for England, Autumn 2002.

Submission to The Home Affairs Select Committee on the Government's drug policy from The United Kingdom Harm Reduction Alliance (UKHRA), July 2001. To read it, click here.

'The 5th Amendment' - the online version of the influential UKHRA proposal for the national drug strategies to include an additional fifth aim: Individual Health - to minimise the harm to the health of individuals and communities arising from drug use. Published in 2001 in the hope of influencing the revised strategy which was, at that time, being drafted.
Also available as a pdf file (384KB). To download, click here.


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