I recently went to a training on harm reduction which instead of abstinence is around helping someone manage to reduce but not necessarily quit.
How does the Village feel about using Harm reduction techniques when dealing with a person in addiction?
From a medical perspective harm reduction decreases risk of death, disease and high risk behaviours. I would consider the close relation to enabling behavior when helping family. Can harm reduction be done by community support or another third party?
My concern is that we are kicking the can down the road. In terms of quality of life, inter-personal relationships and contributing to society; harm reduction is not the answer sadly. It will help people (not guarantee) stay alive, and there is certainly some benefit in that … but we are signing-off on enabling the behaviour when we are a part of this. If it’s a means to an end as part of a plan to stabilize and firm boundaries are set around moving from harm reduction to detox, to abstinence, I can see some value (but it’s a tough way to get there). As family members and loved ones; we really want to see the return of the person we love and harm reduction isn’t the answer to that unfortunately. I should add, only based on the outcomes I have witnessed with those in long term harm-reduction programs. Open to hearing from someone with a success story!
Harm reduction can be a fantastic and life-saving approach for many people, especially those with opioid use disorder. Like Sextherapyrn mentioned, from a medical perspective it reduces risk of death, disease and use of illicit/prescription drugs.
In terms of a success story, best example I’ve come across so far is that of David Poses who wrote a great article on the LA times: