By EHRA 

Message from the Executive Director

Thank you for your help in the birth of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association! 2017 has become almost revolutionary for harm reduction activists in the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region.

Within the association of activists, there has been a challenging process of renovation, the building of a democratic organization with clear processes, and opportunities for activists from all countries of the region to influence the organization’s strategy, policies and activities. It has been possible not only to build a transparent decision-making process, but also to develop an ambitious strategy for our organization through the harmonious and well-coordinated work of the EHRA Steering Committee alongside members and EHRA’s Secretariat. A clear-sighted vision of what is required for sustainable harm reduction programs, and for decent lives of people who use drugs, has helped EHRA to gain strong support from global and regional communities, allies and partner organizations that has encouraged us to build from scratch a solid management system for the organization. From the very beginning of its active operation in 2017, EHRA has already started to implement 9 advocacy projects and has been supporting community groups of people who use drugs in countries of our region; EHRA has also maintained its leadership in regional advocacy to ensure sustainability and efficiency of harm reduction services and for drug policy reform to shift towards being based on public health and human rights.

Now it’s time to mobilize all resources. Drug policy in countries has not improved, but rather has worsened. In most cases, governments are more likely to pay for policemen and prisons than provide social and medical assistance to people who use drugs. In all countries of the region, it has become obvious that we need to change the approach to harm reduction services because the drug scene is changing and people who use drugs are also changing. The issue of government funding of harm reduction services has become very relevant for most of the countries of the CEECA region with international funding rapidly declining and, therefore, EHRA sees its priority in supporting communities in their advocacy for sustainable funding of quality harm reduction services from national sources.

I am proud to be a part of a cohesive and strong team which is ready to fulfill an ambitious strategy!

A good start gives hope for further success!

Ganna Dovbakh, Executive Director of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association

30th March 2018