Harm Reduction and its Underlying Assumptions

Harm reduction has often been referred to as many responses that there have been towards use of drugs. Confusion has risen as a result of this definition as to what this reduction really is. Current institutions such as UKHRA have defined harm reduction as a term that describes programs, policies, and actions that work to decrease the social, economic, and health harms to communities, society, and individuals that are linked with drug use (Newcombe 1992). Harm reduction has several principles which include; pragmatism, priority goals, humanist values, prioritizes harms and risks, give abstinence much consideration, and aims at maximizing the range of interventions at hand.

Harm reduction has a variety of assumptions which include views concerning what can make the society drug free. It assumes that abstinence is the major efficient means of evading issues related to use of drugs. The oft-stated aim of making the society drug-free is rejected as unachievable. Harm reduction place more emphasize on designing policies that give credit to the psychoactive drug use ubiquity. In addition, harm reduction seeks to reduce the resulting harm. It further assumes that zero tolerance is antithetical to public health, human rights, and civil liberties in addition to being burdensome to the criminal justice system. Illicit drug users are assumed to be human beings and not animals, devils, or traitors. Integration of the illicit users into the society is assumed to be an intervention focus rather than isolating them from the society. Drug laws should be part and parcel of wide social welfare policies and public health as well so as to place more emphasize on inclusiveness and pragmatism. These drug laws should not be indiscriminately enforced. The society should embrace harm reduction as a health policy and try to assist illicit users to avoid misuse of drugs (Muraskin & Roberts, 2009).

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