By Dania Putri, Sam Shirley-Beavan, and Jamie Bridge

The COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions have brought many changes to the lives of people around the globe. It has also magnified existing inequalities, stigma and repression faced by certain marginalised communities such as people who use drugs.

However, the response to COVID-19 has also catalysed – and accelerated – some positive developments which are central to the wellbeing of people who use drugs, particularly in the field of harm reduction.

This report aims to provide a non-comprehensive review of some of the challenges, and the responses that have been applied to best protect the health and rights of people who use drugs. It has been written by Dania Putri (consultant), Sam Shirley-Beavan (Harm Reduction International), and Jamie Bridge (IDPC), to sit alongside a sister report focused on civil society advocacy during the pandemic: Innovation and Resilience in Times of Crisis: Civil society advocacy for drug policy reform under the COVID-19 pandemic.


Dania Putri (Persepsi) is a consultant specialised in drug policy and social justice - this piece was commissioned by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC); Sam Shirley-Beavan is a Research Analyst at Harm Reduction International; Jamie Bridge is the Chief Operations Officer at IDPC.