Call for papers:

Policing, Law Enforcement, and Harm Reduction: Tensions and Opportunities a special issue of Harm Reduction Journal

Guest Editors: Brandon del Pozo, Jennifer J. Carroll, Mukta Sharma

Editor-in-Chief: Prof Nick Crofts Harm Reduction Journal 

The Harm Reduction Journal invites you to submit to a special collection: “Policing, Law Enforcement, and Harm Reduction: Tensions and Opportunities,” to be launched at the next International Law Enforcement and Public Health conference in Melbourne, Australia, scheduled to be held in September 2022.

Worldwide, police are the first to respond to practically all emergent social concerns, resulting in disproportionate (and generally negative) interactions with people who use drugs, engage in sex work, health and health care disparities, or are otherwise racialized, criminalized, and marginalized.

There is growing consensus that the police mandate is too broad, that police responses produce social harms, and that alternative response models (whether co-responder models or non-law enforcement response) are overdue. Progress will require better of understanding the complex interplay of these various actors and their impacts on wellbeing for individuals and communities.

To better understand these attendant challenges and opportunities, the editors of this special issue are interested in research and commentary at the intersection of policing, law enforcement, and harm reduction worldwide. We are interested in studies that examine the tensions between police activity and harm reduction work. This includes work on public health-public safety collaborations to reduce the harms associated with substance use the and the inherent opportunities and limitations of these endeavors. This also includes work problematizing the colonial legacies of policing, including reliance on colonial-era law and the colonial origins of contemporary practices in both policing and public health.

The editors especially encourage submissions that to which people with lived experience—those who use drugs, harm reductionists, sex workers, police and law enforcement, and others—have directly contributed. Our goal is to publish articles that integrate experience and empower the translation and dissemination of research to accurately inform policy, law, and practice to contribute to the development of humane and effective responses to these contemporary social issues. This includes research articles and commentaries challenging criminalization, and the role of police in this. 

All submissions in this issue will undergo the journal’s standard peer review process. As an open access publication, Harm Reduction Journal levies an article processing fee (details here). We recognize that many key stakeholders may not have access to such resources and are committed to supporting participation in this issue wherever resources are a barrier. For more information about what support may be available, please visit OA funding and support, or email or the Editor-in-Chief.

Manuscripts should follow Harm Reduction Journal submission guidelines and be submitted via Editorial Manager ( In the submission system, please make sure the correct collection title is chosen from the “Additional Information” tab. Please indicate in the cover letter that the manuscript is in response to the call for “Policing, Law Enforcement, and Harm Reduction. Submissions are invited until 30th May, 2022. For further information, please contact the Editor-in-Chief.


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