Monday, November 2, 2015

Harm Reduction Seems Like A Good Idea to Change My Life

I've been doing a lot of thinking about getting into a harm reduction program as a way to help me overcome a lifelong drug addiction. And the more I think about, and research the topic, the more I think it's a good idea.

The text below was written by the professionals at the Harm Reduction Coalition which is a great organization that's doing a lot of work for drug addicts who are serious about creating a better life for themselves and their families.

Definition of Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs.

Harm reduction incorporates a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence to meet drug users “where they’re at,” addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.

Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve drug users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for implementing harm reduction.

Meeting Drug Addicts Where They're At

In the video below, Dr. Kellogg discusses the essential aspects of harm reduction which involve meeting people "where they are at" and developing an alliance via a welcoming attitude.

Principles of Harm Reduction

The Harm Reduction Coalition considers the following principles central to harm reduction practice.

Accepts, for better and or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.

Understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.

Quality of Individual and Community Life

Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.

Addicts Participate in the Creation of Life Changing Programs

Ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.

Affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.

Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.

Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.


As you can see from my research, a harm reduction program may be exactly what I need to change my life for the better. Please be sure to post your comments below and let me know what you think.

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