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Harm Reduction

  • By: Michael F. Walker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Harm reduction refers to a set of principles and strategies that seek to reduce the negative consequences of intoxicant use on both individuals and society. This article provides a brief history of harm reduction, outlines principles of harm reduction, and discusses general harm reduction strategies.

History

The current harm reduction movement could be said to have its genesis in the Merseyside Medical Authority prescription program in England as well as the liberalization of drug polices and Junkie Union movement in the Netherlands in the 1970s and 1980s. The Merseyside Medical Authority, near Liverpool, England, began a harm reduction program to combat the rise of heroin use in the 1980s. The Merseyside program offered a full range of services to users that included education, needle exchange, therapy, employment ...

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