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Home » Community Blog » #PeersInThePandemic Demand 1 – Declare Harm Reduction as Essential

#PeersInThePandemic Demand 1 – Declare Harm Reduction as Essential


We demand that states firmly declare support for harm reduction programmes by declaring these services as essential, ensuring they remain open during lockdowns, and directing public health funding towards the maintenance, delivery and expansion of services.

Download social media graphics for this week here.

Hashtag of the week: #HarmReductionIsEssential
Please use this along with #PeersInThePandemic and #HarmReduction all week

Sample social media text:

  • Any service which saves lives is essential. #HarmReductionIsEssential #PeersInThePandemic
  • #HarmReductionWorks: countries which declare #harmreduction essential during #COVID19 have a measurable decrease in overdose deaths #PeersInThePandemic #HarmReduction
  • Closing down #harmreduction services during #COVID19 can leads to spikes in #overdose and #HIV #HarmReductionIsEssential #PeersInThePandemic
  • #COVID19 has confirmed what we already knew: #HarmReductionIsEssential #PeersInThePandemic #HarmReduction

Relevant data collected from INPUD’s peer research on COVID-19.

  • Around 80% of respondents answer “no” or “unsure” to whether harm reduction services in their area had been declared an ‘essential service’ and scaled-up during COVID-19
    • Many stated that during lockdown the availability of harm reduction services had decreased due to restricted hours and limitations on services offered.
  • When respondents were asked whether harm reduction services are properly funded in their area, 77% answered “no”. 
    • In some regions, respondenta reported little or no harm reduction services are available at all. In other regions, the selection of harm reduction services was severely limited.
  • Where harm reduction services have been declared essential and/or scaled up during COVID-19, the quality of services has been innovative and responsive to the needs of people who use drugs under lockdown by providing delivery of services, peer outreach models and reducing contact unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Only 30% of our survey respondents indicated they had access to naloxone during COVID-19.

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