Harm Reduction

A term used to refer to work that focuses on reducing the harm that drugs can cause. Harm reduction is understood by some to mean the acceptance and condoning of drug use. For others it is seen as a step towards helping users to stop using a particular drug. Often, activity in drug abuse prevention has the reduction of the harm that drugs can cause as one of its objectives. Drug use can cause suffering and harm at all levels; personal misery and ill health; harm to friends and family; violence and crime; problems in the community; great cost at the financial and human and societal levels etc. So reducing or preventing these "harms" that can result from drug use is an acceptable focus in the view of most that work in the field. Alcohol related issues are generally undertaken within a "harm reduction" approach. However this does not mean that drug misuse is being condoned. It is more a matter of dealing with different realities that the prevention field is confronted with in terms of people's drug use.