Declaration on the guiding principles of demand reduction

8. The following principles shall guide the formulation of the demand reduction component of national and international drug control strategies, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, in particular, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States; human rights and fundamental freedoms and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and the principle of shared responsibility: (…)

(b) Demand reduction policies shall:

(i) Aim at preventing the use of drugs and at reducing the adverse consequences of drug abuse;

  • Human rights
  • Harm reduction

10. Demand reduction programmes should cover all areas of prevention, from discouraging initial use to reducing the negative health and social consequences of drug abuse. They should embrace information, education, public awareness, early intervention, counselling, treatment, rehabilitation, relapse prevention, aftercare and social reintegration. Early help and access to services should be offered to those in need.
  • Harm reduction

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Paragraph 8 is an earlier formulation of the human right safeguard clauses underpinning all aspects of drug control – see also 2009 Plan of Action Part II.A.3 – paragraph 5 (

The Guiding Principles show that despite controversies over the term and some interventions, harm reduction goals have been included in political declarations on drugs for many years. The challenge and shortfall is that Member States have not fully embraced this aspect of long agreed demand reduction strategies.

  • Harm reduction
  • human rights