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About HR23

The harm reduction community will soon be ready to connect again – join us in Melbourne for HR23: Strength in Solidarity.

The Harm Reduction International Conference, convened by Harm Reduction International in a different city every two years, attracts over 1,000 international delegates and has been held in almost every region of the world.

Harm Reduction International is thrilled to be holding HR23 in Melbourne, Australia, on 16-19 April 2023.

Registration for HR23 is open now. Register today to attend the first global convening of the harm reduction community post-covid.

Over four days of presentations, workshops, films, networking events and more, the conference will continue its history of providing a dynamic forum to share the latest research and discussions on best practice in drug use, harm reduction and human rights, bringing together over 1,000 people from around the world working at the heart of harm reduction and drug policy.

Returning to Australia for the first time in 19 years, the conference will be a unique opportunity showcase Melbourne’s incredible harm reduction programmes and the people who have made them possible, and also to push for further progress not just for the country, but for the region as a whole.

The conference theme, Strength in Solidarity, will underpin all HR23 activities and highlight the importance of our strength – as people, as a community, as a global movement – in sticking together.

An early and strong adopter of harm reduction, Australia has an extensive network of needle and syringe programmes, access to pharmacotherapy options and naloxone, as well as two supervised injecting centres and, in many ways, stands as an example of good harm reduction practice. But despite this long history of harm reduction-focused policy and practice, reform in some spheres – for example heroin prescription programmes, decriminalisation of personal use of drugs and prison-based needle and syringe programmes – is still a challenge.

Of course, we couldn't possibly host a conference in 2023 without an online element to enable people who can't or don't want to travel to attend. Full details to follow soon!

We would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we will meet, and pay respects to the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation. We pay respects to the Elders of the community and extend our recognition to their descendants.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website may contain images or names of deceased people.

Indigenous Australians are the first known human inhabitants of the Australian continent and its nearby islands. The term includes both the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginal People, who together make up about 2.5% of Australia's population.

Aboriginal history says that "we have been here since time began". Today, there are 250 distinct language groups spread throughout Australia. Aboriginal Australians are split into two groups: Aboriginal peoples, who are related to those who already inhabited Australia when Britain began colonizing the island in 1788, and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who descend from residents of the Torres Strait Islands, a group of islands that is part of modern-day Queensland, Australia.

It is customary in Australia to start any talk by giving an Acknowledgement of Country. An Acknowledgment of Country is a way that people (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander not from the local area or non-indigenous) can show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the ongoing relationship of traditional owners with the land. As a guide, the Victorian Government uses the following acknowledgement:

This conference is being held on the lands of the five tribes of the Kulin Nation and I wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Owners. I would also like to pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and Aboriginal Elders of other communities who may be here today.

You may like to compose your own acknowledgement. The key is to be aware of whose land you’re on, to show genuine respect and to use the correct terminology*. For example, the word ‘Aborigines’ is derogatory.

You can find more information about First Nations cultures, histories and experiences at the following sites:



*Australians Together Language and Terminology Guide is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported:

The covid-19 landscape is changing daily and, whilst optimistic, we remain cautious as we plan our biennial gathering. You can read our COVID Safety Policy here.

For those unable to travel to Australia, we plan to have a virtual element to the conference; further details on this will follow.

Our chosen venue, Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre, has rigorous plans in place to keep delegates safe.

View MCEC’s VenueSafe Plan here

Key dates in the run-up to HR23:

May '22: Early Bird registration opens

August '22: Abstract submission opens, along with scholarship applications

4 October '22: Abstract submission closes

October '22: Online Review Committee reviews abstracts

November '22: Programme Committee meets to build programme

31 December '22: Delegate notification of abstract outcomes

January '23: Early Bird registration ends; standard begins

February '23: Programme released

16-19 April '23: HR23, Melbourne

Stay up to date with all of our conference news and more by signing up to our newsletter.

The theme for HR23 is Strength in Solidarity.

Reflecting our commitment to an inclusive and intersectional harm reduction community, Strength in Solidarity is a call to action. Harm Reduction International calls upon our friends and allies to stand together, to act together and to push forward together.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of community and solidarity in the face of crisis. The diversity of the harm reduction movement is its strength.

Our branding represents an inclusive community that stands together. We support each other and push forward collectively. We are different shapes and sizes, but when we come together, we create something bigger, stronger and more beautiful than the sum of its parts.

“Strength in Solidarity is an expression of Harm Reduction International’s belief in the power of the harm reduction community – in all its diversity, energy and courage – when we come together to call for justice.” – Naomi Burke-Shyne, Executive Director

©2023 Harm Reduction International
Charity number – 1117375
Company number – 3223265
61 Mansell Street
Aldgate, London, E1 8AN
HR23 brought to you by:
Harm Reduction International
In partnership with:
Melbourne Convention BureauMelbourne AustraliaAIVLASHMHarm Reduction VictoriaINHSU