Drug use is a major challenge for public services, healthcare professionals and policy-makers all over the world. This book offers a complete overview of the issues associated with substance misuse from an interdisciplinary perspective. It begins by providing a reference guide to the different psychoactive substances, looking at the biological and psychological impact of their use. Key issues in the effect drugs have on society are then addressed, before outlining methods of recovery and therapy. Chapters include: • Reflective questions to challenge readers’ assumptions • Case studies to help students understand the impact of substances on individuals • Links to further resources to expand readers’ knowledge It will be valuable reading for those studying on degrees in criminology, health, nursing, social work and counselling.

Harm Reduction

Harm Reduction
Tony Shea

Agreement on an absolute definition of ‘harm reduction’ have been inconclusive and so the term is used to describe both a philosophy of public health, and a range of policies, programmes and interventions intended as an alternative to the prohibition of potentially harmful activities and behaviours (Strang, 1993). The essential feature of harm reduction is its focus on reducing and minimising the harm which can result from an activity or behaviour, rather than necessarily aiming to reduce its prevalence or use.

The specific focus of the chapter will be on harm reduction with respect to illicit drug use despite the development of similar responses to legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Whereas these approaches are relatively uncontroversial (such as nicotine ...

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