WHRIN is a global platform to expand harm reduction approaches for women.
A significant proportion (ranging from at least 15% up to nearly half depending on country/region) of all people who use drugs in the world are women. Women who use drugs tend to be even more overlooked than their male counterparts, with related research, services, guidelines, training programs and data collection generally mainstreamed into a male context. Many women report that they feel excluded from existing harm reduction activities, especially those who are pregnant or who have children, transgender women, sex workers and incarcerated women. There is also a glaring paucity of responses addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of women who use drugs. The absence of appropriate policies and services is even more marked in global south countries, where violations of the rights of women who use drugs are common occurrences.
Women who use drugs along with members of the international harm reduction community have recognized that there is a need to establish a mechanism to focus on gender responsive harm reduction services. This groundswell led to the development of the Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN), formed in 2009. The goal of WHRIN is to improve the availability, quality, relevance and accessibility of health, social and legal services for women who use drugs. WHRIN is a network for women (and men) who are involved in harm reduction to ensure that national, regional and international implementers and other bodies have policies and programs which promote and support harm reduction services that reduce the adverse health, social, and economic consequences of drug prohibition for women.
To improve the availability, quality, relevance and accessibility of health, social and legal services for women who use drugs.
The vision of WHRIN is that all self-identified women who use drugs have unfettered access to available, quality, relevant health, social and legal services in a context of upholding human rights without stigma, discrimination or criminalisation.
Meaningful involvement - 'nothing about women who use drugs, without women who use drugs'
Inclusivity - of all identifying as women who use drugs, and of the full range of stakeholders who work with women who use drug
Inclusivity of all identifying as women
Innovation and responsiveness
Accountability - including by identifying and reporting on harmful drug policies and human rights violations, and on gender biases that impact women who use drugs, including gender-based violence
Evidence and Guidance: To provide access to high quality evidence and guidance which assists women who use drugs and other stakeholders to collaboratively improve implementation of and access to gender responsive harm reduction services
Discussion Forum: To provide an inclusive and safe forum to discuss and raise awareness of the intersectional challenges faced by women who use drugs, together with practical solutions that feature meaningful involvement of women who use drugs.
Advocacy: To advocate for national, regional and international bodies to adopt and implement responsive, timely and innovative evidence-based policies and programmes that promote and support gender responsive harm reduction services for women.