Presented by Pam Lynch - Clinical Supports Superviser at Centra Wellness
Harm Reduction programs came into existence in the 1980’s as a response to various public health epidemics specifically in drug using populations, their friends, families, and communities. Harm Reduction programs have been the sole public health response to drug related HIV/AIDS but have faced challenges as such programs focus on decreasing the harm associated with drug use without necessarily focusing on reducing drug consumption.
Harm reduction programming has proven to make a powerful impact on HIV/AIDS; however, in much of the country, antiquated definitions of addiction, outdated drug war practices as well as politics rule the service provision system further traumatizing and stigmatizing people. Some communities continue to criminalize the disease of addiction and the people and communities most heavily impacted. This approach has proven to be short-sighted and prioritizes financial gain and sustained employment in the correctional and justice systems over care for the individual.
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