RIO – Norway

Rusmisbrukernes Interesseorganisasjon – RIO (Norway)

The Interest Organization for Substance Users – 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.

Intervention areas

Addiction prevention and recovery, support to reintegration, organization of community venues for meeting and exchanging, research projects, advocacy initiatives

RIO at a Glance


Opening year


Collaborators (number of volunteers not communicated)

3 facilities

Head office, recovery centre, drug-free meeting café


  • Participation in user committees and working and management groups in the addiction field,
  • Participation and advocacy within municipalities, hospitals, regional health authorities and ministries,
  • Participation and advocacy within various public/private projects and committees: user-oriented measures, guidelines, project planning, preparation of information manuals, etc.,
  • Training and teaching in the addiction field on a variety of topics: user participation, patient care, motivation and resistance, parental perspective, social housing, addiction and mental health, abstinence and harm reduction, addiction and criminality, etc.

In addition to  its core advocacy activities, RIO develops various projects including an annual sport event and a research project on Hepatitis C

Sustainable Development Goals

sdg-03-17The organization participates in the political debate with the goal of creating better services and conditions for the social reintegration of people with substance use disorders. In 2017, RIO organization has been committed to pursuing the drug decriminalization project, a historic change in the country’s drug policy in (SDGs 3 – health and well-being and 17 – partnerships).

Specific Activities

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 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