Drugs, Health and Human Rights

The Summer School “Drugs, Health and Human Rights” will be organised by the Institute of Global Health, the GREA (Groupement Romand d’Etudes des Addictions) and partners (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and others). The Course will be heavily based on the University of Geneva’s recently launched MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) “Drugs, drug use, drug policy and health”, which represents the first of its kind in the relatively new field of the world of MOOCs.

By taking part in the Summer School, participants will be able to learn about and understand the inter-relationship between health, drugs and drug use; as well as the need for health and human rights to be at the centre of drug policies. They will also have the opportunity to discuss with professionals from the field during site visits.


The Summer school will address the following issues: "understanding drugs and the international drug control framework"; "drug use worldwide”; "addressing drug use and health: prevention, harm reduction and treatment"; "questioning prohibition-based policies"; "medical access to opioids for the management of pain and to other controlled medicines"; and "the case for drug policy reform”.

Students will be able to use the free videos, lectures, exercises and discussions of the MOOC to complement the in-class lectures and discussions.


What’s more, the Summer School constitutes the essential academic component of the first-ever Geneva Drug Policy Week, which will be held during the same week (between 24-28 of June 2019).

The Geneva Drug Policy Week will provide the space for discussion, knowledge sharing and debate, where people from civil society, academia, State government missions to the UN, UN agencies and international organisations as well as members of the general public in Geneva can come together to address international drug policy topics.

The Geneva Drug Policy Week will include seminars, public debates and other discussions, as well as film screenings and exhibitions. The Summer School students will be able to attend the Geneva Drug Policy Week events, all intimately linked to the content of the summer school.

The inclusion of the Summer School, as part of the Geneva Drug Policy Week, representing an exciting opportunity to bring together a wide range of actors in the field of drug policy, will provide students with a stimulating and memorable week of learning about and experiencing drug policy-related issues in Geneva.


The main objectives of the Summer School are for students to:

  • become familiar with and gain insight into the functioning of international drug control regime and its intersection with public health and human rights ;
  • acquire a strong understanding of the major health issues related to drug use and drug policy;
  • develop a clear vision of why drug policy is debated today and what the challenges related to its implementation around the world are.


The Summer School will be taught in English, and the MOOC is available in English, with subtitles in French, Spanish and Russian. The Summer School will be led by two of the members of the Steering Committee of the MOOC (Jennifer Hasselgard-Rowe and Barbara Broers).

Students will have the opportunity of visiting some of the international organisations in Geneva such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS, including for certain class sessions. A guided visit of the “Quai 9” Drug Consumption Room ; and the Heroin Assisted Treatment program at the University Hospitals of Geneva will also form part of the week.


Most of the classes will take place at the CMU (Centre Médical Universitaire) of the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Medicine, Rue Michel-Servet 1, Geneva


The summer school may earn you the equivalence of 3 ECTS credit points. Evaluation will be based on attendance, class participation and a presentation on the last day of the course.


Equivalence of 3 ECTS.

Students will be provided with a Certificate of Completion for their course if they satisfy attendance.

Please note that this is not an official University of Geneva transcript, as Geneva Summer Schools courses are not accredited University of Geneva courses. It is the students’ responsibility to validate their course for credit at their home university before commencing the summer school, as specified in our Regulations.

Early Bird 15 February 2019:

Tuition fees: CHF 800*

Extended Deadline 31 May 2019:

Tuition fees: CHF 1200*

Special price for UNIGE students (limited 5 spots):

Tuition fees: CHF 300*

*Including 100 CHF non refundable administrative fees

Course Directors

Jennifer Hasselgard-Rowe

Institute of Global Health
The University of Geneva

Researcher and Lecturer, Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva; Executive Coordinator, Geneva Platform on Human Rights, Health and Psychoactive Substances.

Researcher and lecturer with an academic background in law and public health who has worked on human rights and health issues in detention for several years, including for her PhD thesis: “Ending detention of drug users in Cambodia: international and domestic factors influencing the country’s substance use policies and practices”. Her principal fields of expertise include: human rights law, international humanitarian law and substance use issues (specifically harm reduction and other evidence-based public health policies and practices). Since June 2017, she is the Executive Coordinator of the Geneva Platform on Human Rights, Health and Psychoactive Substances (www.genevaplatform.ch) bringing together civil society and international organisations working in the field of health, human rights and drug policy to better share information and promote health and human rights in all drug-related questions addressed in Geneva. Jennifer worked for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent for several years, has experience working in multi-cultural environments and speaks six languages. She is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (PhD) and the Australian National University (BA/LLB), and since mid-2018 she is a Visiting Fellow with the Global Health Centre, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Professor Barbara Broers

Faculty of Medicine
The University of Geneva

Head Dependencies Unit, Department Community Health and Primary Care, Geneva University Hospitals and Professor in Addiction Medicine, Medical Faculty, University of Geneva

Graduate from the Medical Faculty, University of Amsterdam, Barbara Broers has over 30 years of experience in addiction medicine, HIV/AIDS/hepatitis and harm reduction projects; mostly in Switzerland, as a physician, public health specialist and advocate. She is member of the Swiss Federal Commission for Addiction related Questions since 2008 (vice-president since 2012), vice-president of the Swiss Society of Addiction Medicine since 2001, founding member of the Swiss Taskforce for Cannabinoids in Medicine, member of the steering committee for Geneva’s safe drug use facility since 2001. She is responsible for an outpatient consultation for people with substance use disorders at the Geneva University Hospitals, and training medical students and family doctors in this field.

Guest lecturers :

Khalid Tinasti

Khalid Tinasti is a visiting Fellow at the Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva, Executive Secretary of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and Honorary Research Fellow at Swansea University. His research focuses on the intersection between political science and public health in the implementation of drug policies. Before joining the Global Commission as a Policy Analyst in 2013, he worked as a consultant for UNAIDS, WHO, the Graduate Institute and others. Prior to that, he worked as a Press and Communications Officer in the Office of the Minister of Urban Cohesion in France, and as an Administrative Officer in Gabon.

Khalid holds a PhD in political science from the Catholic Institute of Paris and conducted his postdoctoral research at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He is the author of scientific and policy papers with specializations in public policy, democracy and the role of elections, as well as international drug control mechanisms. He is the author of "Gabon: entre démocratie et régime autoritaire" (L'Harmattan, 2014) and is currently co-editing, with Professor Dave Bewley-Taylor, the "Research Handbook on International Drug Policy" (Edward Elgar, 2019).

Damon Barrett

Damon Barrett is the co-director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, which he co-founded in 2009; and lecturer, Section for Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

He is recognised internationally for his leading work in the areas of human rights and drug control, with a focus on systemic incoherence between these regimes; human rights and the international institutions of drug control; harm reduction and the right to health; and drug policy and the rights of the child. Mr Barrett regularly delivers lectures and publishes on these and other topics.

Mr Barrett is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. He was a civil society member of the UK delegation to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs from 2008-2011. From 2007-2014, Mr Barrett worked at Harm Reduction International, including as Deputy Director from 2012-2014. Alongside his work at the HRDP, Mr Barrett is currently a PhD candidate at the School of International Studies and Faculty Law in Stockholm University. He lives in Göteborg, Sweden.