As a Harm Reduction Advocate I am delighted to be part of HRA’s initiative to raise the salience of drug harm reduction in Australia and abroad. Australia’s achievements in harm reduction are commendable. Unfortunately, the strong community support for harm reduction (demonstrated in population surveys) is not adequately matched by the policies, funding priorities and other actions of governments.
A key reason for my support of HRA is the principled approach that it takes to improving the well-being of our people, and doing so in partnership with people who use drugs, their families and friends.
A strong evidence base exists showing what aspects of harm reduction work well, in what contexts. The task before us now is to better apply what we know, and to encourage innovative harm reduction approaches. In my view, drug law reform, and working to eliminate stigma and discrimination towards people who use drugs, should be priorities in Australian drug harm reduction. I fully support HRA in its endeavours.
David McDonald (BA, DipSocWk, MA, GradDipPoplnHealth) is an interdisciplinary social scientist with research interests at the intersection of criminal justice and population health (the new discipline of epidemiological criminology), and building evidence-informed public policy.
David is the Director of the consultancy Social Research & Evaluation Pty Ltd, a Visiting Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University, and the research advisor to the ACT Government’s drug policy advisory group and to the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Association ACT.
He has wide experience in research & evaluation, policy analysis, and policy & program development in the alcohol and other drugs, criminal justice and related fields.
In 2009 David was the recipient of the Outstanding Contributions Award in the ACT Alcohol and Other Drug Awards Program, and in 2011 he was inducted into the National Drug and Alcohol Honour Roll, and was made a Life Member of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia.