Harm reduction refers to policies, programs and practices that aim to reduce harm associated with the use of substances. It is about preventing harm rather than complete abstinence, recognizing that stopping use may not be realistic or desirable for everyone.
Harm reduction meets individuals ‘where they are at’ with the goal of reducing harm associated with substance use. It recognizes these individuals are part of the community, and in order to create healthy communities we must protect and improve the health of people who use substances. People who feel supported and part of a community, rather than isolated, are more likely to seek help when they need it.
These harm reduction approaches recognize addiction as a chronic disease and the need to look at the underlying root cause of substance use and behaviours associated with it.
Harm reduction includes initiatives and program such as:
Specific harm reduction interventions may differ for different substances. For more information visit the Harm Reduction International website – www.hri.global.