RIO, Norway

 En landsdekkende brukerorganisasjon på rusfeltet – RIO (Norway)

Founded in 1996, the Nationwide users’ organization in the field of alcohol and drugs – RIO is a recovery-oriented advocacy group which solely consists of former substance abusers. The organization is integrated with the Norwegian field of addiction care, and as such is often engaged in political debates.

Participant in the ReStart project

Participant in the ReStart project on Bragdøya island (Norway)

Rio logoSince its modest beginnings, RIO has grown and matured to become a professional organization with 13 employees and many volunteers across Norway. The central activity of RIO is to influence politicians, bureaucrats and professionals to create better services aiming at, and the conditions for, the social reintegration of substance abusers. RIO has become a political reference in Norway.

Main Activities

  • Preparation and release of a report on the Portuguese drug decriminalization reform
  • Participation to the government’s public drug policy reform committee
  • Participation in councils and boards at all levels of the addiction treatment apparatus, as well as in large municipalities
  • Organization of a seminar on recovery
  • Rio Restart aftercare programme: follow-up services for people with substance use disorders having undergone a treatment programme and former inmates
  • Kafe X: low threshold service for people with substance use disorders or former drug users
  • Organization of the Sports Against Drugs event
  • Partnership project to exchange knowledge in addiction treatment and to promote the principle of ‘The Patient’s Health Service’ with focus on the users’ involvement in service development

Impact on the Sustainable Development Goals

3.5 Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.

17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.

Related Activities

RIO participates in policy debates to create better services and conditions for the successful reintegration of people with substance use disorders, with a strong focus on recovery-oriented and harm reduction practices, thus contributing directly to SDG 3 (Good health and well-being) target 5. In addition, the organization is fully committed to drug policy reform: the Norwegian decriminalization reform should be completed next year leading to a historic transformation of drug policy in this country. This joint commitment between third sector organizations and the government contributes directly to SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals) target 17.

Specific Projects and Activities

RIO ReStart

ReStart is rehabilitation project for people having undergone a treatment programme or ex-inmates wanting to achieve lasting abstinence, employment and a decent life. The project takes place in the natural environment of the beautiful Bragdøya island and involves five days of compulsory participation per week in various training activities: restoration of buildings and boats, maintenance of the island’s hiking trails, carpentry and mechanics workshops, etc. The programme is complemented by a variety of personal development activities.

Kafe X

Kafe X is low threshold, drug-free café dedicated to providing substance abusers with a safe social environment, as well as a pleasant place to join in activities and meet people while sipping a hot drink free of charge. Since its creation in 2004, the café has become an important focal point of the rehabilitation work carried out in the city of Tromsø.


  • Associate member of Dianova International
  • Registered organization to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN (DESA)

Contact Information

Some of the projects or activities currently running in RIO, Norway

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