Assessing the impact of harm reduction programs on law enforcement in Southeast Asia: a description of a regional research methodology
1 Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, 161 Barry St, Carlton, Victoria, 3010, Australia
2 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
3 Centre for Law Enforcement and Public Health, Melbourne, Australia
Harm Reduction Journal 2012, 9:23 doi:10.1186/1477-7517-9-23Published: 9 July 2012
For over 15 years the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has been a leading donor for harm reduction projects in Southeast Asia. The recent AusAID-supported harm reduction projects of greatest significance have included the Asia Regional HIV/AIDS Project (AHRP), from 2002 until 2007,1 and the HIV/AIDS Asia Regional Program (HAARP), from 2007 until 2015.2 Both projects included in their design specific strategies for engaging with law enforcement agencies at country level. The main focus of these strategies has been to develop law enforcement harm reduction policy and curriculum, and the design and implementation of specific harm reduction training for law enforcement officers.
In July 2008, the Australian Development Research Awards (ADRA) funded the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne to establish a research project created to assess the influence of harm reduction programs on the policy and operational practices of law enforcement agencies in Southeast Asia, known as the LEHRN Project (Law Enforcement, Harm Reduction, Nossal Institute Project). The ADRA is a unique grant research mechanism that specifically funds development research to improve the understanding and informed decision making of the implementation of Australian aid effectiveness.
While the need to engage law enforcement when establishing harm reduction programs was well documented, little was known about the impact or influence of harm reduction programs on policy and practices of law enforcement agencies. The LEHRN Project provided the opportunity to assess the impact of harm reduction programs on law enforcement in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR.