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Community-based and community-led harm reduction

In this video, Judy Chang from INPUD explains the differences between community-based and community-led harm reduction

”..harm reduction works best when it meaningfully involves people who use drugs and is used as a tool of empowerment for people who use drugs.”.. In this session Judy will dive into the role of the community of people who use drugs, as leaders and active participants in harm reduction programs.

As you’ve heard in Week 1, harm reduction avoids labelling people who use drugs as victims, sick or criminals. Projecting “helplessness” prevents constructive thinking and, in some ways, denies respect of people’s existence, their individual choices, their humanity and the right to be full citizens.

“Community based and led harm reduction is more than an intervention. It’s more broadly about social justice by firmly putting people that are usually seen as subjects only; in the driver’s seat. It’s as much about human rights, power shifting and self-determination as it is about health care.”

Judy dives into the difference of “community based” and “community led” and highlights the commitments of the international stakeholders in this regard.

You have heard the term “nothing about us, without us” several times throughout the course. After watching this video, feel free to share with your fellow students how this concept is (or should be) made reality in your local context.


You will find a link to the first video of a series called: “taking back what’s ours”. It features the origins of community involvement of people who use drugs in different countries.

You will also find the guideline that Judy presents in this video; the Injecting Drug Users Implementation Tool. You can download it directly from the link below, or access a shorter briefing note, put together by INPUD, via this link.

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Drug Use and Harm Reduction

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