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O'Gorman, Patrick & Paul Hardacre
Documentation of Best Practices and Needs Assessment of Service Providers in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries
Final Report
AHRN - Asian Harm Reduction Network, Chiang Mai, December 2004, 245 pp

"This study was supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for South Asia (UNODC, ROSA), with financing from AusAID, the Australian Agency of International Development." Reproduced with AHRN's kind permission.


"A shift to the injection of licit and illicit drugs is sweeping through the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region, consisting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Drug control measures which have restricted the supply of heroin have had the inadvertent effect of introducing widespread injecting of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Drug use is prevalent in most countries. The factors which contribute to this are many, and include poverty, unemployment, economic migration, conflict, poor access to health care and information, and the easy availability of pharmaceutical drugs. In the wake of this shift to injecting, an epidemic of HIV/AIDS is already present in some parts of the region and is spreading quickly and efficiently throughout. This presents the greatest challenge for the SAARC countries over the next decade. It is essential therefore that a coherent, evidence-based and balanced response to this threat is generated by all sectors of society in every country in the region. This report outlines in broad terms the factors which have contributed to the epidemic and the social, cultural, judicial, and legal context in which the epidemic is taking root. It will also examine the current non-government organisational (NGO) capacity in each country that can be mobilised to ameliorate the effects of injecting drug use and HIV transmission. The regional expertise to reduce the transmission of HIV among people currently injecting drugs is identified and a strategy is suggested to extend this expertise throughout the region through trenchant training and exchange programmes and effective interventions."

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Related Published Resources


  • United Nations, Preventing the Transmission of HIV Among Drug Abusers: A Position Paper of the United Nations System, E/CN/.7/2002/CRP.5, United Nations, 12 March 2002, 8 pp. [ PDF File | Details... ]