Australia - Programs, strategies and policies designed to prevent or reduce the harms associated with the use of illicit substances are collectively known as harm reduction. This approach to drug use has been a key pillar of Australia’s National Drug Strategy since its first iteration in 1985. With the HIV/AIDS crisis looming in the mid-80's, it became apparent that punitive measures towards people who use drugs weren’t going to protect the community against the threat of the deadly virus. And this danger is what brought harm reduction to the fore in this country. Campaigns to secure greater access to sterile injecting equipment, which were run by medical professionals and people who use drugs, resulted in the government acknowledging that despite their illegality, drugs are still taken and it had a responsibility to minimise these adverse effects. However, conservative forces back then, as now, argue implementing programs that reduce the risks of drug use encourages the increased consumption of these substances. This is despite evidence showing contact with these programs actually has the opposite effect. And the mobilisation of people who use drugs whilst working to instigate harm reduction initiatives has led to the recognition that their rights and health should be protected. Indeed, drug-related harms can even affect one-off experimenters ... Drug law reformists often put forth that most major harms associated with illicit drug use are due to their prohibition. The risk of arrest, the social stigma and the unknown quantity of what is begin consumed are all aspects of drug taking caused by their illegality. Under a legal and regulated market, an adult could make an informed decision to purchase some drugs. They’d be made aware of the quality-controlled contents on the side of the plain packaging and the police wouldn’t arrest them on their way out of the store. And if an individual did happen to develop dependency issues, well, they could go to a doctor without fear of incarceration or social ruin. To many the idea that prohibition, along with the war on drugs, might be coming to an end is hard to imagine. But, as INPUD executive director Judy Chang made clear last month “the arcs of history show that prohibition is not the status quo”. But if the war ceases and a legal and regulated drug market is established not all harm reduction would become obsolete. Just look at alcohol, there’s random breath testing, the restrictions on its availability, as well as the provision of counselling services for those who find it problematic.