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Section Editor's Profile

New psychoactive substances and the internet

The aim of this new section of the Harm Reduction Journal is to present findings on novel and transformative harm reduction practices and contexts taking place in a digital or online setting, or through other related means. The background for this section is the evolving digital society which generates new methods and settings for harm reduction and the user voice. We think of the digital as a many-faceted hybrid of platforms, devices, interfaces and data driven infrastructures that is intertwined into everyday life. We think of online as something that can be done via Internet, specifically. There is no definitive distinction between the on and offline, as the digital society seeps into every aspect of harm reduction practice and users’ lives. The digital provides new capacities for harm reduction services which we want to recognise, and also new threats in the form of surveillance and algorithm-led decision-making which can reinforce existing biases. Digital and online approaches can bridge distances and divides, and recreate inequalities and exploitation. This section will be a place where harm reduction approaches can be studied in that context.

We invite submissions around but not limited to the following themes:

Online user communities and activismThe ethics and politics of online harm reduction deliveryDigital divides and inequalities in access and abilitiesHealth and support delivery and monitoring provided through digital meansProvision of digital and online  outreach servicesAffordances and risks of digital technology for harm reduction Services delivered through apps and the mobile internetResearch methods using digital data infrastructures and capacities, such as big data analytics, netnography, digital trace methods and othersHybrid harm reduction using online and face to face methodsUse of IT in harm reduction such as AI and machine learningChanges in the digital society which affect users such as the introduction of algorithmic decision-making into criminal justice systemsChanged locations of harm reduction practice in the light of digital and online support such as the home and the streetChanges in the context user groups operate in and the resulting changing risk landscape such as remote sex work, online drug purchase and delivery, virtual co-presence in alcohol and drug consumption and the myriad other ways the digital and online worlds reshape the lives of service user communitiesIntersections with other systems in digital contexts such as policing, health care, and digital platform management.

Aleksey Lakhov

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Aleksey Lakhov has more than 15 years of experience in the area of editing and journalism, including writing on such topics as Internet, NGOs, HIV infection, viral hepatitis, substance use, and harm reduction. Since 2011, he has been working in different Russian NGOs in the field of HIV infection, viral hepatitis and substance abuse prevention. Lately, Aleksey has been the Development Director of the largest Russian harm reduction organization "Humanitarian Action" (Saint Petersburg), as well as General Manager of the Harm Reduction NGOs Coalition "Outreach" (Tallinn, Estonia). Participated in several researches for peer-reviewed journals on new psychoactive substances and online harm reduction. Authored a web outreach manual for the UNODC Programme Office in Eastern Europe.

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