Guiding Principals of Hartm Reduction
According to the Harm Reduction Coalition, the principles of HR are
Acknowledging that drug use is inevitable and choosing to reduce the harms of drug use instead of disregarding them.
Understanding that drug use is a complicated phenomenon and that some methods of drug use are safer than others.
Determining that quality of life is the criteria for successful approaches and rejecting the idea that total abstinence is the only way to address the issue of drug abuse.
Using non-judgmental services and providing resources to people who use drugs and their communities, without forcing them to participate.
Making sure that drug users have a say in the programs and policies of which they are a part.
Seeing drug users as the ones who have control over preventing the harms of drug use and empowering them to share information and support each other.
Accepting that factors such as poverty and racism can impact people’s ability to deal with the consequences of drug use.
Facing the realities and risks of drug abuse.
Harm reduction can be very effective. Studies have found that
Cities that have needle and syringe programs have an average annual decrease in HIV prevalence of 18.6%, compared with an annual average increase of 8.1% in cities without these programs. Between 2000 and 2009, these programs are estimated to have prevented more than 32,000 new HIV infections in Australia.
Methadone maintenance programs are tied to decreases in death rates.
Methadone maintenance is effective at reducing heroin use, crime, and risk behaviors for HIV.