By Ardhany Suryadarma and Dania Putri

Harm reduction programmes in Indonesia have been officially recognised and in operation since 2007, beginning with their implementation in primary-level healthcare facilities. Harm reduction programmes differ from the majority of drug rehabilitation programmes in Indonesia, with the latter focussed on the achievement of abstinence. From when they were established in the late 1990s, rehabilitation programmes in Indonesia typically adopted the approach of setting behavioural change and abstinence from drug use as the only goals. No compromise on these goals were allowed in determining a client’s successful completion of a rehabilitation programme. Harm reduction on the other hand, refers to a set of policies, programmes and practices aimed primarily at reducing the harms associated with drug use, which could range from health, social to economic harms, without necessarily focussing on ending drug use.

This policy paper is based on an analysis of data and evidence produced from a desk review of literature, and focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with clients who have undergone both types of programmes: abstinence-based rehabilitation programmes, and those integrated with harm reduction services in Indonesia. The paper concludes with recommendations for the Indonesian government to implement policy reforms that enable the integration of harm reduction measures into drug rehabilitation programmes.