Harm reduction incorporates a spectrum of public health policies from safer use to managed use to abstinence to meet drug users “where they’re at,” addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.
Harm reduction demands that interventions and policies be designed to serve drug users and reflect specific individual and community needs. Harm reduction recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.
Harm reduction does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use. Harm reduction calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm and to not leave the person where you found them.