"Part social justice movement for the rights and dignity of people who use drugs, part a philosophy- of-life to human problems, and part a set of highly pragmatic and specific evidence-based public health practices... Harm reduction rejects a moral judgment of substance use in favor of a compassionate and functional understanding: People do things for good reasons, even excellent reasons."
- Stopping Judgment in Its Tracks by Rebecca Halff
Why we choose Harm Reduction...
All people should be treated with dignity.
Support - not punishment - leads to meaningful change.
Seeking pregnancy care shouldn't be dangerous.
Everyone has a right to make their own healthcare decisions.
The best providers work with patients to help them reach their goals.
Consent is an ongoing conversation.
We need to advocate for and protect parents, babies, and families.
“There is no such thing as a baby... a baby alone doesn’t exist. What exists is always a 'nursing couple': a baby plus someone who takes care of them."
- Journal de la psychanalyse de l'enfant Volume 5, Issue 2, 2015
The power of our community is greater than the sum of our parts.
Our creativity, power, knowledge, and lived experience is vast.
And we hold a shared vision of a world rallying together and healing itself from harm. Get to know the people of the harm reduction movement.
What exactly is Harm Reduction?
There is no universally accepted definition of harm reduction.
One simple way to define it is to say that Harm Reduction is the acknowledgement that anything we choose to do carries risks - and that there are things we can do to minimize those risks.
For example, the safest way to avoid a car accident is to avoid cars. Don't drive. Don't be a passenger in a vehicle. Stay away from places where there are cars and avoid people who drive them. If you do these things you can significantly decrease your odds of being in a car accident.
But the problem is that there are very good reasons to drive. Important reasons. Compelling reasons. Being able to drive provides real benefits, even though there are risks associated with driving.
So what can you do if choose to drive? How can you reduce the risks of negative consequences associated with cars and their use? You can become licensed to drive. You can wear a seatbelt and observe agreed upon speed limits. You can require that vehicles are manufactured and operated in accordance with safety standards. You can expect that if these shared standards aren't followed, that there is accountability.
When we talk about Harm Reduction and substance use, there are some guiding principles you'll want to understand...
MEETING PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE
Meeting Patients Where They Are by Mark T. Hughes, MD, MA in American Medical Association's Journal of Ethics
Meeting People Where They Really Are Cyrus Batheja Mayo Clinic Transform 2018
Meet people where they are: harm reduction and the opioid crisis in British Columbia by the University of British Columbia
WE BELIEVE that the War on Drugs is really a War on People. We are obligated to fight unjust laws and policies that harm our families and communities.
Harm reduction is a set of ideas and interventions that seek to reduce the harms associated with both drug use and ineffective, racialized drug policies.
Harm reduction stands in stark contrast to a punitive approach to problematic drug use—it is based on acknowledging the dignity and humanity of people who use drugs and bringing them into a community of care in order to minimize negative consequences and promote optimal health and social inclusion.