Drug Decriminalisation [e]Course

Key information

  • Organisation: International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) in partnership with Mainline, Health[e]Foundation and Frontline AIDS
  • Country: Global
  • Region: Gobal (online)
  • Stage of innovation: Stage 5. Market ready
  • Start date: 2021
  • End date: 2021
  • Type of innovation: Harm reduction, HIV prevention, Challenging harmful social norms
  • Funder: PITCH. IDPC (Robert Carr Fund) Frontline AIDS

Summary of intervention

The criminalisation of drug use and possession does very little to stop people taking drugs. On the contrary, it leads to people who use drugs being highly stigmatised and less likely to engage with health services. When done properly, the decriminalisation of drug use and personal possession can have significant benefits for the health, well-being and rights of people who use drugs – yet this approach can sometimes be difficult to advocate for as it runs counter to decades of public and political messaging from a global ‘war on drugs’. People who use drugs need options and support, not a criminal record

The Drug Decriminalisation [e]Course was created in 2021 by IDPC in partnership with Mainline, Health[e]Foundation and Frontline AIDS. The aim was to equip activists, people who use drugs, individuals and organisations working on drug use with the tools to target policy-makers to advocate for decriminalisation. Initially delivered face-to-face in Asia, COVID-19 forced the course online. It is now a full-fledged e-course – the first of its kind on drug decriminalisation. The content comprises seven modules, available in English, French, Arabic and Russian, and has been developed to be easily accessible and available free-of-charge worldwide. It has been designed so that participants can take just one module, or all seven, and in any order they prefer. The [e]Course host provides guidance throughout the modules – each of which should take between 1 and 2 hours to complete, including videos and activities – and participants receive a certificate at the end of each Module.


COVID-19 acted as both a barrier and an enabler in the process of providing free training in decriminalisation across the world. What initially presented as problem for face-to-face training, acted as a catalyst for moving to a virtual platform, making the course more readily available to a broader audience without the costs of travel or in-person facilitation.


The course is now fully developed and hosted online by UNDP, making delivering it cost-effective and sustainable. The course can be accessed HERE.