Harm reduction is an attempt to reduce the harms associated with drug abuse
It’s a user-driven approach that rejects traditional abstinence-only approaches.
It allows for client choice in treatment and recognizes the realities of substance
abuse—that some users either can’t or won’t quit.
Harm reduction fundamentally recognizes and understands the realities and
challenges associated with behavior change for humans. (try, fail, try, fail)
Harm reduction has also been shown to reduce the spread of HIV and HEP-C and
other drug-related illnesses.
Examples of harm reduction
Needle exchange programs
Clean needles for dirty needles
Supervised/safe injection sites
IV drug users are given a safe place to inject street heroin in the presence of
NAOMI (North American Opiate Medication Initiative) This program gives
prescription heroin to heroin addicts.
Safer crack pipes
Crack pipes can apparently get too hot and burn your mouth
These are homeless shelters where residents are given an alcoholic drink
UN conventions that affect harm reduction
Canada is a member of the international narcotics control board. By having
safe injection sites and the Naomi project, Canada is in violation of
international convention because we are “enabling” illegal drug use.
The way we get around this is by classifying safe injection sites as “medical
research.” The 1961, UN single convention on narcotic drugs says that
signatory countries must ensure that drugs are used only for medical or
scientific purposes. Needle exchange program
Delivers clean needles to IDUs
Attempts to reduce sharing of dirty needles and the spread of blood borne
Exchanges dirty gear for clean gear
The city of Ottawa also distributes clean fixing gear