Day of Action 2018

City: Bucharest

Organisations: Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN)


    • In 2018, RHRN – Romanian Harm Reduction Network organised several events within Support. Don’t Punish campaign.
    • On June 26th, RHRN’s R3 – Revista de Reducere a Riscurilor/ R3 – Harm Reduction Journal was launched within the debate “Harm reduction, priority theme in Romanian society”. Ionut Alexandrescu, president of RHRN, moderated the panel around topics such as peer educators within harm reduction services, legislation for recreational cannabis users, alcohol use and services for people who abuse alcohol and connections between availability and costs of needle exchange programs, methadone treatment and HIV treatment. The event was attended by professionals working in the field and by the manager of Bucharest Ambulance Service.
    • For the evening of June 26th, RHRN also scheduled an open air projection of “A day in the life: the world of human who use drugs”, which was postponed due to weather conditions.
    • From June 27 to June 29, RHRN – Romanian Harm Reduction Network, ALIAT – Alliance for the Fight against Alcoholism and Addictions, ARAS – Romanian Association against AIDS and PARADA Foundation opened their doors for press and those interested in prevention, harm reduction and rational, human and evidenced-based policies regarding substance use. Open Doors’ motto was (L)egality for health – Drug addiction should be treated at the hospital, not in prison (attached the poster and the stickers).


Day of Action 2017

The Romanian Harm Reduction Network organised an action in Bucharest to promote harm reduction by facilitating communication between partner organizations and the public. The RHRN partnered with the Romanian Anti-AIDS Association (ARAS), the Alliance to Fight Alcoholism and Addictions (ALIAT), the Parada Foundation,  SensPozitiv and Totem team. Volunteers handed out materials on addiction, drugs, HIV and the SDP campaign messages.

The main point of attraction was a joint street art action: circus show by the children trained at Parada Foundation and a drum show with public participation by the Totem Team. Parada Foundation has a day center for homeless street children where they learn circus skills and receive medical, social and educational services. The Totem Team are working with children and adults alike with a form of educational music therapy based on drumming and percussion instruments.


Day of Action 2015

The Romanian Harm Reduction Network participated in the launch of the Room for Change campaign in Bucharest, with an action at Clubul Taranului, including a drug-related theatre play and a panel discussion.


Day of Action 2014

Although no action was organised on 26th June, as part of a communication advocacy project, the Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN) produced a comic book on the effects of drug prohibition and available alternative options. This is the first part of a series aimed to explain the current situation of HIV among people who inject drugs in Romania, and the consequences of unbalanced drug policies. This will result in a bigger campaign aimed at bringing drug policy reform on the agenda. The Support. Don’t Punish campaign will also be promoted through various events this year.


Day of Action 2013

The “Support. Don’t Punish” Day of Action was organised in Bucharest by the Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN). The event in Romania was held in Bucharest on July 1st, where a protest was organized as a way to draw public attention on the ending of the biggest harm reduction project.

The protest was held in front of three ministries: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Labour. Protesters submitted petitions to all three ministries, demanding urgent action to stop the rapid spread of HIV among people who inject drugs in Romania; the cancellation of registering PUD by their identification number (the Ministry of Labour procedure) and the initiation of OST in police lock-ups and the acceleration of funding allocation to the National Anti-drug Agency as they have the possibility to contract NGOs for services provision.

There were about 80 participants – drug users accessing syringe exchange programs,OST patients, harm reduction professionals, interns and supporters.

As part of this protest, a happening was organized in front of the Ministry of Health: four volunteers wearing t-shirts with the campaign logo (Support. Don’t Punish.) were marked by a street artist symbolically impersonating the Ministry of Health with the mark “HIV” on their back. The meaning of this action was to highlight the fact that the Ministry passivity equals the sentencing of PUD to HIV, e.g. to disease and social marginalization.

At least 8 televisions and radio stations and journalists from 5 magazines and newspapers were present, creating the first occasion in Romania to openly talk and discuss about the needs of people who use drugs.

After the protest, the Romanian Harm Reduction Network had a meeting with MoH representatives and we discussed the emergency of the situation. In the next days, the National Infectious Diseases Institute Matei Bals, the institution nominated by MoH to coordinate HIV prevention among MARPs initiated the syringe procurement procedures. 169,000 syringes were procured in July. A cooperation protocol between the Institute and RHRN was signed by the end of July.

New actions are taken into consideration in order to ask for more governmental support for the project conducted by four RHRN member organizations on needle and syringes distribution and that will finish by 30th of October.

Lead organisation: Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN)

Media coverage in Romania