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Tom Waller Award

Tom Waller Award for a significant contribution to the development of harm reduction policy and practice in the UK.

At the 2002 UKHRA conference a new award, to be named after its first recipient was announced by the UKHRA committee, and the inaugural Tom Waller award was presented by Jon Derricott.

To nominate someone for the Tom Waller award please click here to send us an email.



Ian Smith was presented with the award in recognition of all his work to further the aim of harm reduction. Sadly, Ian died in late 2004. The award was presented at the 16th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm and was collected on Ian's behalf by his 10 year old son Billy, who gave a deeply moving speech.

Tributes to Ian and his work can be found at:



Bill Nelles. Bill was presented with the 3rd Tom Waller Award by Gerry Stimson for his skill, patience, diplomacy and plain hard work in building The Alliance (formerly the Methadone Alliance), the organisation of which Bill has been Chief Executive since 1998. Bill is leaving the UK for what he hopes will be a quieter life in Canada, with his partner John, our best wishes go with them.
2003 Dr Chris Ford. Chris was given the 2003 Tom Waller Award for her tireless efforts to improve drug treatment both for her patients through her well known and excellent general practice in central London, and through work with the Alliance, SMMGP and the RCGP.
2002 The inauguaral award was given to Dr Tom Waller for many years service to the field and has fought tirelessly for sane drug policy, good clinical practice and an effective response to hepatitis C. The award has been named after Tom in recognition of this outstanding contribution to the field.

In late November 2003, after a long illness borne with huge courage and dignity, Tom sadly died. He had felt honoured to receive the award and particularly to have it named after him.
Obituaries for Tom were published in various newspapers and magazines.
To download Tom's obituary in the BMJ (125KB), click here.


UKHRA Vice-Chair wins 2005 IHRA Rolleston Award

Des Flanagan, manager of Railway Street Addiction Service in Ballymena Northern Ireland and UKHRA vice-chair was presented with the national Rolleston Award at the 16th International conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm, held in Belfast in March 2005.

Des gave a characteristically thoughtful and challenging acceptance speech.

The International Harm Reduction Association Rolleston Awards are presented each year to people who have made an outstanding contribution to reducing drug or alcohol related harm.

The awards, which were inaugurated at the 1992 conference in Melbourne, are presented at the International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm.

The awards are named after Sir Humphrey Rolleston , President of the Royal College of Physicians who chaired the UK Departmental Committee on Morphine and Heroin Addiction. In 1926 this committee determined that it was legitimate medial practice to prescribe heroin or morphine to people dependent on those drugs. This decision epitomises a benign, pragmatic and humane approach to drug problems, and was a landmark event in the history of harm reduction.

The National Rolleston Award is awarded to an individual or organisation making an outstanding contribution to harm reduction at a national level.


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