The need for coordinated harm reduction approaches across Europe could not be clearer. Over 23 million people used some form of illicit drugs in the last year (EMCDDA, 2008), and there are over one million people who inject drugs across the EU Member States (IHRA, 2010). The associated harms are enormous, with HIV prevalence amongst people who inject drugs reaching 72.1%in Estonia, and recorded hepatitis C rates amongst IDU of over 80% in several EU countries (IHRA, 2010). Drug-related deaths also accounted for 3.5% of all deaths of European 15 to 39 year olds in 2005 and 2006.
Harm reduction approaches are proven to help reduce these harms and protect the health of people who use drugs and the wider community. This was pioneered by European countries in the 1980s and 1990s but, in recent years, political support for harm reduction has faded in many countries. The need for coordinated advocacy and action across Europe to counter this trend is clear and as such the EuroHRN network has been formed.