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Harm reduction encompasses a set of strategies designed to reduce the potentially harmful impact that may arise from engaging in various “risky” behaviors. Typically, these strategies involve changes in the individual’s behavior, but they may also involve changes in public policy and the availability of specific resources. Harm reduction began with programs designed to minimize the harm from addictive drug use for those individuals who cannot or are unwilling to quit using illicit drugs. It has since been expanded to reduce the harm that may accompany a wide range of risky behaviors. Today, this includes not only addictive drug use but also poor dietary and exercise habits, alcohol and tobacco use, sexual promiscuity, and even the pursuit of some recreational activities involving extreme sports.

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