Harm reduction as applied to drug use began as a philosophy in the 1980s aiming to minimize HIV transmission between intravenous drug users. It also focused on condom usage to prevent the transmission of HIV through sexual contact.
Harm reduction worked so effectively that researchers and community policy makers adapted the theory to other diseases to which drug users were susceptible, such as Hepatitis C.
Harm reduction seeks to minimize the harms that can occur through the use of various drugs, whether legal (e.g. alcohol and nicotine), or illegal (e.g. heroin and cocaine). For example, people who inject illicit drugs can minimize harm to both themselves and members of the community through proper injecting technique, using new needles and syringes each time, and through proper disposal of all injecting equipment. Smoking a 700-mg. tobacco cigarette or cannabis joint (with the attendant heat shock, carbon monoxide, and combustion toxins) can be avoided by serving individual 25-mg. "single tokes" in a miniature pipe or using a vaporizer.
Other harm reduction methods have been implemented with drugs such as crack cocaine. In some cities, peer health advocates (Weeks, 2006) have participated in passing out clean crack pipe mouthpiece tips to minimize the risk of Hepatitis A, B and C and HIV due to sharing pipes while lips and mouth contain open sores. Also, a study by Bonkovsky and Mehta reported that, just like shared needles, the sharing of straws used to "snort" cocaine can spread blood diseases such as Hepatitis C.
The responsible user therefore minimizes the spread of blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV in the wider community.
Read more about this topic: Responsible Drug Use
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... Drug Policy, state that a risk posed by harm reduction is by creating the perception that certain behaviours can be partaken of safely, such as illicit drug use, that it may lead to an increase in that ... We oppose so-called 'harm reduction' strategies as endpoints that promote the false notion that there are safe or responsible ways to use drugs ... Statement on so-called 'Harm Reduction' polices" made at a conference in Brussels, Belgium by signatories of the drug prohibitionist network International Task Force on Strategic ...
Famous quotes containing the words reduction and/or harm:
“The reduction of nuclear arsenals and the removal of the threat of worldwide nuclear destruction is a measure, in my judgment, of the power and strength of a great nation.”
—Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.)
“When a toddler uses profanity, dont make a big deal about it. If you do, you give the child more power. After all, its only a wordone that wont do much harm to anybody. In fact, if you think about it, a nasty word is a step up from hitting or biting someone. So look at it as a sign of growth.”
—Lawrence Balter (20th century)