Professor Rick Lines

Honorary Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Rick is Head of Substance Misuse and Vulnerable Populations for Public Health Wales. He joined the faculty of Swansea University in 2018 and is co-Director of the Global Drug Policy Observatory.

Rick has been called ‘a key figure in the emerging field of human rights and drug policy’ and is known for his leading research and teaching on subjects including international drug control law, prisoners' rights, HIV and human rights, capital punishment and harm reduction.  He is the former Executive Director of Harm Reduction International (2010-2018) and the Irish Penal Reform Trust (2003-2007).  He is also the co-founder and Chair of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

For more than a decade, Rick represented NGOs at high level United Nations fora including the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN Human Rights Council and the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board. He is a past member of the Strategic Advisory Group to the United Nations Drug Use and HIV, the Technical Advisory Group to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law and the Reference Group to the United Nations on HIV and Injecting Drug Use.

He holds an MA in Sociology (York University, Toronto), an LLM in International Human Rights Law (Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway) and a PhD in Law (Middlesex University, UK).   He is a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.

His first book, Drug Control and Human Rights in International Law, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Rick is currently editing a new book, ‘After the War on Drugs: Harm Reduction and Human Rights in Post-Prohibition Scenarios’, to be published by Routledge in 2023.

Areas Of Expertise

  • International Drug Control Law
  • Human Rights and Drug Policy
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Harm Reduction
  • Prisoners' Rights and Prison Reform
  • Capital Punishment
  • HIV and Human Rights