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SOC309Y1 (31)

Marlatt & Witkiewitz: Update on Harm-Reduction Policy and Intervention Research

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Robb Travers

SOC309 November 18 2011 Update on HarmReduction Policy and Intervention Research G Alan Marlatt and Katie Witkiewitz1 Harm reduction is a pragmatic and compassionate approach to reduce the harms associated with substance use and other risk behaviors 2 Many individuals and government organizations are opposed to harm reduction because they want to eliminate substance use by enforcing abstinenceonly policies and intervention programs despite widespread evidence that harmreduction programs are effective and costefficient 3 Several international organizations including the United Nations and the World Health Organization are supportive of harmreduction approaches because of the preponderance of evidence that many harmreduction programs have slowed the spread of HIV and other communicable diseases 4 Government funding for supplyreduction programs has always exceeded the funding for demandreduction and harmreduction programs despite the fact that many supply reduction policies eg incarceration can lead to increased harm to individuals and increased costs to society 5 Harmreduction programs with the most empirical support include needle exchange programs opioid substitution therapy overdose prevention programs substance use prevention programs for adolescents and young adults emergency room screening and intervention for substance use problems and workplace substance use prevention programsSupply reduction pro
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