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Allan Clear
Allan Clear has been the Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) since late 1995. HRC, through its training institute, conferencing, resource development, and policy work, is the leading national organization promoting harm reduction as a mode of working with drug users in the United States. Mr. Clear was the original Executive Director of the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, one of the five original New York City syringe exchange programs authorized in 1992. He is a member of the North American Syringe Exchange Network and the New York Commission on AIDS.

Entries by Allan Clear

Time for the Harm Reduction Decade

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 12:13 PM

As an important United Nations meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) started in Vienna this week, diplomats from around the world were confronted with a spectacular installation of giant black and white photos.


The photos were shot at last Fall's...

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Overdose Prevention in a New York City Prison: Start of a Groundbreaking New Initiative

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 3:21 PM

New York State has launched an exciting pilot program at a New York City's Queensboro Correctional Facility, in which all individuals being released will be given training in overdose recognition and response; and they will be offered naloxone, a life-saving medicine that reverses opioid overdoses.

Risk of...

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Real Change or Changing Rhetoric? Monitoring the Shift in US Drug Policy

(1) Comments | Posted April 20, 2010 | 2:21 PM

Since President Obama's election, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has been making noises about a shift in approach and priorities towards addressing drugs and drug problems -- as opposed to its previous "War on Drugs" approach, which criminalized what is primarily a public health issue. Last month's...

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Harm Reduction in the United States: Whose History? (Part 2)

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2010 | 11:46 AM

Yesterday I wrote about an editorial that was rejected by an academic journal in fall 2009 that outlined the history of harm reduction in the United States. The following is that article, unedited.

Part 1 is here.

This editorial principally frames the development of...

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Harm Reduction in the United States: Whose History? (Part 1)

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2010 | 11:22 AM

In the fall of 2009, I was asked by an academic journal to contribute a 1,500 word editorial that outlined the history of harm reduction in the United States. I welcomed the opportunity; I also tried to be clever when writing the piece because as I was writing, the...

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Most Improved (Drug Policy) Player: The USA

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2010 | 1:28 PM

One of the thematic threads holding together the 53rd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (the CND is the UN's global drug policy body) was the "debate" on "demand reduction." The latter term refers to how countries go about reducing domestic illicit drug demand and consumption. And there's no...

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Reforming Drug Treatment in the US: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

(9) Comments | Posted March 17, 2010 | 12:39 PM

Days at the 53rd annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting (the CND is the United Nations governing body on global drug policy) are like those moments spent in a dentist chair waiting for the dentist to appear from the other room. For those few minutes, time stands still. You stare...

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US drug policy at the UN. Is the glass becoming more than half full?

(4) Comments | Posted March 12, 2010 | 10:33 AM

Here's the good news: From what I'm seeing here on the ground here at the 53rd annual
UN global drug policy meeting in Vienna, the public face of US drug policy has changed overall under the new administration -- and for the better. There's a more humane, compassionate...

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Commission on Narcotic Drugs: Progress Towards a Pain Free World?

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2010 | 12:18 PM

Although the Vienna International Center has upgraded its facilities (it now houses its meetings in an IKEA showroom), the opening session of the 53rd annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) conference is held in a space too small to hold all of the guests. Sadly, a large number of attendees...

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Live From the 53rd Annual UN Drug Policy Meeting: Ready for the 21st Century?

(4) Comments | Posted March 9, 2010 | 11:35 AM

On the harm reduction/drug policy circuit party trek, it's time for the annual United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drug (CND) meeting in Vienna. This "select government only" gathering is fast becoming a party favorite for harm reduction and drug policy reform advocates. For those of you unfamiliar with the joys...

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USA Fumbles UN Drug Policy in Vienna

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2009 | 11:02 AM

Today in Vienna marks the opening of a United Nations meeting that will review the last decade of UN drug policy and set policy for the next one--and, by implication, the course for the global response to the HIV epidemic.

As an advocate who works in the United...

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Syringe Exchange and the Police: An Alliance In Waiting

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2009 | 12:31 PM

A couple of years ago I attended a conference presentation by Corey Davis from Prevention Point Philadelphia. According to Corey, most syringe exchange programs in the U.S. don't have established relations with their local police departments. I found this a dubious point as programs in New York City,...

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RIP George Kenney, early proponent of harm reduction approach for drug users

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2009 | 12:35 PM

On Friday January 16, Imani Woods called to let me know that George Kenney had died at 12:30 pm. He had been ill with multiple health problems for a number of years and I, like many, had fallen out of contact with him. George was an early proponent for working...

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Obama's Choice: Sane U.N. Drug Policy or the Same Old Failed War-on-Drugs Routine?

(37) Comments | Posted January 27, 2009 | 11:06 AM

Cross-posted from AlterNet:

Everyone knows that Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States last Tuesday, Jan. 20. As an advocate for sound, sane drug policy and HIV prevention, I hope that his inauguration will mark a change to an administration that chooses science over dogma.

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Obama's HIV Fix: Syringe Exchange Is a Major Component

(1) Comments | Posted January 17, 2009 | 6:11 PM

Cross-posted from AlterNet's Drug Reporter

What if we had a mechanism that stopped the spread of HIV that experts had speculated would work even before the cause of AIDS had been identified and that subsequent scientific enquiry confirmed was effective? We do, that mechanism is syringe exchange.

What if...

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Harm Reduction and Allan's Diplomatic Faux Pas, on the Final Day of the U.N. Drug Treatment Conference, Vienna

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2008 | 1:00 PM

At last, my final day in Vienna attending the United Nations' "Technical Seminar on Drug Addiction Prevention and Treatment: From Research to Practice" conference. (To read my scene-setting preamble from earlier this week, click here. Day 1 is here and day 2 is here.) It's a wind-down...

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Vienna U.N. Drug Treatment Meeting Day Two: The Clockwork Orange Brainwashing Day

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2008 | 11:00 AM

Cross posted from from the Stop the Drug War Chronicle Blog (12/18/08)

Ah, the Clockwork Orange brainwashing day. (For my preamble, click here. For coverage of day 1, click here.) There's nothing in my cranium. I've blocked it all out. A windowless auditorium and a set of...

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Day One at the U.N. Drug Treatment Meeting -- Slightly More Interesting Than Predicted

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2008 | 7:32 PM

More than 200 people from around the globe have shown up for the first day of this drug treatment meeting at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. (If you're just tuning it, it may be helpful to read my first post, where I...

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Why Should You or Anyone Care About This Week's U.N. Anti-Drug Meeting?

(8) Comments | Posted December 18, 2008 | 7:16 PM

What's on in Vienna this week? Oh it's "The Technical Seminar on Drug Addiction Prevention and Treatment: From Research to Practice."

What on earth can be the reason for holding a drug treatment meeting at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna right before the...

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