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Drug Use and Harm Reduction

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine via FutureLearn


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Explore harm reduction

Over the past decades, drug use is increasingly recognised through a public health and human rights perspective. The evidence-based harm reduction approach is based on years of global experiences and evaluated by extensive research. This three-week course provides great insight into why it is such an effective solution.

See how human rights and public health relate to harm reduction

Public health measures focus on improving the overall health of a population, changing regulations, and increasing government support.

You’ll learn how harm reduction is a vital part of this approach, using an effective intervention model that saves lives, as well as protecting dignity, individual agency and other human rights.

Understand the importance of support instead of punishment

At its core, the harm reduction approach is based on empowering people to better protect themselves from potential risks associated with drug use.

It acknowledges the role of people who use drugs as a vital component of a public health response and promotes the idea that government and community support decrease potential risk factors.

On this course, you’ll see real best-practice examples and explore how you can advocate scaling up harm reduction to make a real impact on individual and public health issues, as well as protecting the human rights of people who use drugs.

Study harm reduction at a recognised leader in global and public health

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is strongly connected to the peer-reviewed International Journal of Drug Policy, with much of the research in this field coming from the LSHTM, while also being a world-renowned leader in global and public health.

You can trust their expert guidance as you learn more about using harm reduction to address drug use.

This course is designed for anyone interested in harm reduction but it will be particularly beneficial if you are already working in this field. Government officials involved in formulating drug policies, such as those in internal affairs and health, will also find it very beneficial.


  • Harm Reduction and public health
    • Welcome to the course
    • What is Harm Reduction?
    • The public health dimension of drug use and harm reduction
    • Bringing it all together
  • Human Rights and Community
    • The human rights dimension of drug use and harm reduction
    • The community at the heart of the response
    • Bringing it all together
  • Scaling Up Harm Reduction
    • Advocating for Harm Reduction
    • Bringing it all together
    • Goodbye

Taught by

Ernst Wisse


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 88 ratings

Start your review of Drug Use and Harm Reduction

  • Anonymous
    Excellent overview on drug use and some of its most effective responses. The course guides you through a public health and a human rights perspective, and guves a strong focus on the role of the community. It brings together many experts from all over the world.

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