Harm and Risk Reduction
Harm and Risk Reduction is an evidence-based approach, a collection of ideas and practical strategies strived at diminishing negative consequences associated with substance use. It is based on a client-centered approach, highlighting to people who use substances the matter of choice in relation to minimizing harm and risk. This is provided through non-judgemental and non-coercive methods, with the aim of improving the user’s skills and ability to live a healthier and safer life.
Harm reduction recognises that many individuals dealing with substance use may not be in a position to remain abstinent.
Harm reduction includes a range of procedures that includes safer and controlled use, and meeting people who use substances “where they are at”. Global Harm Reduction Coalition considers the following principles paramount to the harm reduction approach:
Toleratesthat legal and illegal substance use is part of our world and chooses to operate to minimize its risks and harmful effects instead of dismissing or condemning them
Understandsdrug use as a complex, multi-layered phenomenon that encloses a continuum of psychological mindset and behaviors which spans across severe use to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of utilizing drugs are undoubtedly safer than others
Quality life– addresses the individual and community life wellbeing — not necessarily cessation of all drug use but rather the improvement
Guidelines:sets a non-judgmental and non-coercive requirement of services to resources people who use substances in reducing risks and harm
Being part of the community:make sure that people using drugs can participate in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them
Empowerspeople who use substances as the ones called in reducing the risks and harms of their drug use by sharing information about their substance usage
Acknowledgesthe realities of deprivation, discrimination, social seclusion, trauma, sex-based intolerance, and other social inequalities can affect people’s vulnerability and the ability for dealing with substance use
Recognizesthe importance of risks, harm and danger associated with illegal drug use
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