By Robert Csák, Sam Shirley‑Beavan, Arielle Edelman McHenry, Colleen Daniels and Naomi Burke‑Shyne

Abstract

The COVID-19 had a substantial impact on the provision of harm reduction services for people who use drugs glob‑ally. These front-line public health interventions serve a population that due to stigma, discrimination and criminali‑sation, faces barriers to accessing health and social services and are particularly vulnerable to public health crises.Despite this, the pandemic has seen many harm reduction services close, reduce operations or have their fundingreduced. Simultaneously, around the world, harm reduction services have been forced to adapt, and in doing so havedemonstrated resilience, fexibility and innovation. Governments must recognise the unique abilities of harm reduc‑tion services, particularly those led by the community, and identify them as essential health services that must beprotected and strengthened in times of crisis.