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Youth, Drugs and Harm Reduction

There is a dire lack of published academic research with and for young people who use drugs (YPWUD), including research focused on harm reduction initiatives and interventions. Yet, a majority of the global population of people who use drugs are adolescents and young adults (UN Drug Report 2018). Young people are disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs and a range of policy-related harms, as well as sub-optimal or non-existent services and programs. YPWUD have a wealth of lived experience that they can bring to research, activism, policy, and programming.

This section provides a platform for research and knowledge gained through lived and living experiences related to youth-focused and youth-led harm reduction practices, programs, and policies around the globe. We have a strong preference for articles and commentaries authored or co-authored by young people (under 30 years of age), and in particular YPWUD. Those from lower- and middle-income countries are strongly encouraged to submit research manuscripts and commentaries. Commentaries (1000-1500 words) can be non-traditional in format and both Section Editors encourage authors to reach out to them to help with manuscript preparation and submission.

Submissions can focus on a wide range of topics that relate to YPWUD and harm reduction, broadly construed. Authors must attend to some of the contexts of substance use: individual, social, structural, spatial, geographic, cultural, or historical. Authors should strongly consider the notion of intersectionality; that is, they should attend to how dynamics such as age, gender, sexual orientation, class, race, ability and/or geography intersect to shape youth’s experiences of and engagements with drug use and harm reduction. Submissions which reflect non-traditional views and experimental, grassroots approaches to harm reduction are strongly encouraged. Articles should consider best and promising practices and identify future areas for activism, advocacy, policy change, and research. We invite submissions with the following focuses: 

  • Submissions authored or co-authored by YPWUD
  • Submissions that focus on systemic or structural issues negatively impacting YPWUD in relation to harm reduction, including their active involvement in research, policy, and service delivery
  • Submissions that advance methodologies for involving YPWUD in research, policy, and service delivery
  • Submissions that generate new insights on service or policy innovations that will improve the lives of YPWUD
  • Submissions incorporating non-traditional media (for example, field notes, images, video and/or audio recordings)

Contact us

Submission enquiries:
General enquiries:

Section Editors

A picture of co-section editor for youth harm reduction: Danya FastDanya Fast

Danya Fast is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine (Social Medicine) at the University of British Columbia, and a Research Scientist at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use. She has been doing research in collaboration with young people who use(d) drugs in Vancouver, Canada, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, since 2007.

A picture of co-section editor for youth harm reduction: Florian ScheibeinFlorian Scheibein

Florian Scheibein is a PhD student and Research Assistant at the School of Health Sciences, South East Technological University, Ireland. He is a Co-Director of the Network of Early Career Professionals in Addiction Medicine (NECPAM), individual member of Youth Organisations for Drug Action (YODA) and former Project Manager and International Working Group member of Youth RISE.

Annual Journal Metrics

  • 2022 Citation Impact
    4.4 - 2-year Impact Factor
    4.8 - 5-year Impact Factor
    1.506 - SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper)
    1.414 - SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)

    2023 Speed
    7 days submission to first editorial decision for all manuscripts (Median)
    131 days submission to accept (Median)

    2023 Usage 
    4,628 Altmetric mentions