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Welcome to the course

Professor Tim Rhodes welcomes participants to the MOOC on Harm Reduction and drug use
TIM RHODES: Welcome to our online course on Drug Use and Harm Reduction. My name is Tim Rhodes. I work as a Professor of Public Health and Sociology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. My research, in different ways, has focused on issues of drugs and addiction for over 20 years now. A key focus of my work has been understanding risk and harm as it relates to drug use from the perspectives of people who use drugs themselves and then using this knowledge to develop and promote harm reduction interventions. Harm reduction is going to be of interest to anyone who wants to think about drug use from a public health perspective. The focus of the MOOC is very practical.
It’s interested in what can be done to reduce health and other harm. Drug use and drug policy, of course, were often very fraught topics. And for this reason, I think it’s going to be very interesting for us to hear from experts who work directly in the field. So who might this MOOC be for? Well, I think some of you will be delivering services for people who use drugs. Others might be interested in developing up or designing up such interventions. Some of you will be in policy, or in the field of policy advice; others in advocacy, and interested in promoting human rights and public health-orientated approaches to drug use.
And of course, some of you will be interested in research, and in evidence, and in how to develop evidence-based approaches to harm reduction. And lastly, some of you will have general interests in drugs and addiction. And I think the MOOC will be of equal interest to you, too. Let me end my introduction with just by highlighting two or three points which I think we will cover through the next three weeks of the course. First, I think we will learn that drug use need not link with harm, that drug use can be safe, and be made safer. Secondly, I think we will learn that when harm does occur, it can take many forms.
And that relates not only to health, but to other things too, such as social harm. And we will hear, for instance, how important stigma and discrimination are as issues. Thirdly, we will learn that context matters, that the environments in which drug use occurs have a great deal of impact on drug-related harm. And lastly, and related to this, we will learn that context-based change is really important, that harm reduction is not only about individual change, or community change. It’s also about changing the context in which drug use and drug policy are parts.
So let me introduce the next three weeks of the course very briefly. In week 1, we’re going to ask two questions. First of all, we’re going to ask the question of what is harm reduction? What does it mean? And secondly, we’re going to focus on how drug use can be understood from a public health perspective. In week 2, we move on to issues of human rights and community involvement in harm reduction. And in week 3, we turn our attention to issues of advocacy, and how harm reduction could be scaled up nationally and internationally such that it meets a level of coverage to maximise its impact.
So to finish, I would like to introduce, now, two people that you are going to hear more from through the course. The first is Ernst Wisse from Médecines du Monde and the second is Judy Chang from the International Network of People Who Use Drugs. I wish you well with the course, and I very much hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to the MOOC on Harm Reduction and drug use! In this video, professor Tim Rhodes welcomes you and introduces the course.

As you can see, the course follows a step structure. A step can be an article, an exercise or a video. This course has many video’s from a large group of speakers from all over the world. The steps are structured topics over a total of 3 weeks.

After some introductory steps the main course content will begin from step 1.6.

We hope you enjoy the course!

Your Lead Educators are:

Tim Rhodes – Professor of Public Health Sociology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Judy Chang – Director of the International Network of People Who use Drugs (INPUD)

Ernst Wisse – Harm Reduction expert for Médecins du Monde (MdM)

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Drug Use and Harm Reduction

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