In this volume, international contributors discuss the philosophical basis and history of harm reduction policies and examine their outcomes. They also cover controversial topics related to harm reduction especially conflicts between the public health system, where most programs are located, and a worldwide criminal justice system that further marginalizes drug users. The book describes programs from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.

Harm Reduction: History, Definition, and Practice

Harm reduction: History, definition, and practice

First, do no harm.


The Nature and Origins of Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a relatively new social policy with respect to drugs that has gained popularity in recent years—especially in Australia, Britain, and the Netherlands—as a response to the spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) among injection drug users. This chapter provides an overview of the origins, background, and nature of harm reduction and some detailed examples of harm reduction as it is being practiced around the world.

Although harm reduction can be used as a framework for all drugs, including alcohol, it has primarily been applied to injection drug use (IDU) because of the pressing nature of the harm associated with this activity. The ...

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