Purpose and aims:

‘Harm reduction’ as a philosophy and operational approach developed its specific character as a pragmatic response to the epidemics of HIV among and from people who inject drugs, though its history is far longer. It has proven to be a most successful multisectoral approach to ameliorating the harms associated with complex issues, especially where they disproportionately affect marginalized communities. Since its formulation, harm reduction has become a guiding philosophy for responses to a wide range of issues, including for example licit and illicit drug use (including alcohol and tobacco), sex work, epidemic infectious diseases and injury and violence prevention including road trauma. In all cases, the role of law enforcement in partnership with health and social welfare agencies and authorities is critical to optimal responses and minimization of associated harms.


The initial focus for the LEAHR SIG is on building police capacity to work with key affected populations in the response to HIV, protecting and promoting prevention, treatment and care programs, in a social justice and human rights context. From this initial focus, the SIG will work to promote a harm reduction approach in law enforcement and public health partnerships across the wide range of issues which affect marginalised communities disproportionately.


  • Satellite meetings at international and regional LEPH conferences: production of Statements and Position papers
  • Ad hoc activities to showcase and disseminate policy positions, such as side events at CND
  • Program input to international and regional LEPH conferences
  • Webinars and other online events
  • Harm Reduction Academy: development of a professional development and training program in harm reduction, based around online learning and professional attachments