5 More Harm Reduction Posters

If you have been following  the #hrmap series of posts you will already be aware that I have been playing with various iPad applications.  The idea has been to see if someone with very limited graphic design skills could use very simple applications to produce effective visual messages promoting harm reduction. You can check out the results below.

Needle Syringe Programs: Saving lives since 1984

The earliest details I could find of an organised Needle Syringe Program were concerning efforts by user groups in the Netherlands to improve the distribution of injecting equipment in 1984 (Exchange Supplies).

The operation of the first Needle Syringe Program in Australia commenced in Darlinghurst in 1986 as an act of civil disobedience (ANCD).  Rather than prosecute the hospital staff involved the NSW government decided to trial and review the project, a decision that has since saved thousands of lives in Australia.

Needle Syringe Programs: Reduce HIV Transmission

It has been estimated that between 2000 and 2009, Needle Syringe Programs averted 32, 050 new HIV infections in Australia alone (National Centre in Epidemiology and Clinical Research 2009).  Despite this Needle Syringe Programs often face opposition both within and outside of Australia.  It is important therefore that we continue to show support for our local Needle Syringe Programs.

Syringes: Sterile and Available

A humorous take on the availability of sterile injecting equipment, however the link between money and  the provision of sterile injecting equipment is not as tenuous as you might believe.

According to a national evaluation of the cost effectiveness of Needle syringe programs in Australia between 2000 and 2009 it was found:

  • For every one dollar invested in NSPs, more than four dollars were returned (additional to the investment) in healthcare cost-savings in the short-term (ten years) if only direct costs are included; greater returns are expected over longer time horizons.
  • If patient/client costs and productivity gains and losses are included in the analysis, then the net present value of NSPs is $5.85bn; that is, for every one dollar invested in NSPs (2000-2009), $27 is returned in cost savings. This return increases considerably over a longer time horizon.
(National Centre in Epidemiology and Clinical Research 2009, pg. 8)

Sometimes life is a matter of millilitres

I was playing with an image of a syringe when the thought struck me that sometimes the gap between life and overdose can be measured in millilitres.  Fluctuations in purity and tolerance mean that the difference between a therapeutic dose staving of withdrawal, the dosage required to get  stoned and the dosage required for overdose can be difficult to calculate.  Given this, it’s important that we know what we can do to decrease this likeliehood (e.g. being mindful of potential drop in tolerance, halving our hit etc.) and also be aware of what to do in case somebody does overdose.

Alcohol + Heroin = Overdose

Of course one of the major contributors to overdose is the compounding depressive effects that can occur when mixing heroin with another central nervous system depressant such as alcohol.

Use of the images

I’ve created these posters to be shared, to promote and advocate for harm reduction, so please feel free to share them.  I can’t vouch for the print quality of the posters (they were only really produced for online sharing) but you are free to print them if you would like.  The only thing I ask is that if you are sharing them electronically is that you acknowledge Stonetree Harm Reduction as the creator of these works.


ANCD (Australian National Council on Drugs) website, Australia commemorates 20 years of needle syringe programs. http://www.ancd.org.au/News-and-announcements-2006/australia-commemorates-20-years-of-needle-syringe-programs.html

Exchange Supplies website, Safer Injecting Briefing. http://www.exchangesupplies.org/drug_information/briefings/the_safer_injecting_briefing/safer_injecting_briefing/section1.html

National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (2009) ‘Return on investment 2: Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of needle and syringe programs in Australia’, University of New  South Wales, Sydney

4 Responses to “5 More Harm Reduction Posters”
  1. Web Servant says:

    Hey these are pretty cool, but I’m just wondering why you don’t use pictures of people in your posters, and I’m not talking about graphics, but photos. I’m not having a go at you, it’s just an observation – it seems that whenever images are used to promote harm reduction they almost never seem to involve people – its invariably syringes and blood and opium poppies. If harm reduction is ultimately about people then why is there such an aversion to using human images?

    I suppose what I am asking is, where is the human face of harm reduction?

    • stonetreeaus says:

      I think your characterisation of the images utilised to promote harm reduction is a little unfair and very much generalised. If you check out the gallery page on this site you will find a diversitty of images have been used, including cars, trees and even seagulls, alongside syringes , opium poppies and blood.

      It’s not that I’m adverse to using human images, it just that I don’t have many. As I point out in this article: https://stonetreeaus.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/some-tips-for-the-development-of-visual-images-to-promote-harm-reduction/ , using human images requires some thought due to the stigma that people who use drugs still experience. This means that there needs to be consideration of informed consent etc. Many harm reduction media projects do use images of people, but this is often done in the context of an organisation and with some small level of budget to utilise models etc if need be. In the context of Stonetree, I use the images that I can. Involving more people in a project which is essentially staffed by one person (unpaid) in their spare time, somewhat unrealistic For a classic example of where images of people have been utilised to promote harm reduction check out https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.340229939441869.1073741837.157420044389527&type=1 .

      This methodology is not uncommon and frequently used to promote harm reduction on social media. There are also a number of great examples of film being utilised to capture people’s very personal stories about how harm reduction has been significant in improving (or even saving) their life.


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  1. […] If you have been following  the #hrmap series of posts you will already be aware that I have been playing with various iPad applications.  […]

  2. […] If you have been following  the #hrmap series of posts you will already be aware that I have been playing with various iPad applications.  […]

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