It was in 1981 that the link was first made in the USA between injecting drug use and the risk of contracting HIV, with the first UK drug-related infections reported in Scotland in 1983. From this was born the notion of risk or harm reduction aimed at reducing the spread of infection and saving lives. It was an issue that Druglink would return to many times over the years, as the advent of needle exchanges, advice against sharing and maintenance prescribing became a central plank of the UK drug strategy response, which saw the UK experiencing some of the lower HIV rates among injecting drug users in Europe.
This was first article to appear in the revamped Druglink 1986, written by David Turner, former Director of the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse, who sadly died earlier this year. As well as being an important article, we are also publishing it as a tribute to David.