Harm reduction

Harm Reduction and its Evolution

Harm reduction is defined as a key strategy aimed at individuals or groups that primarily tries to reduce the harms associated with specific activities. In the case of substance misuse, active harm reduction acknowledges that society's continued levels of drug usage are unavoidable. However, the techniques mostly try to mitigate the negative consequences. Harm reduction has evolved since its discovery in 1980, with interventions focusing on those suffering from substance addiction problems. Furthermore, harm reduction approaches are being utilized in a variety of sectors, including adolescent health. Despite its importance, some persons, studies, and organizations say that harm reduction should be eliminated since it is expensive, increases the chances of individuals engaging in drug abuse. Moreover, harm reduction affects government controls. It fails to benefit the community and public health. However, this research paper considers that harm reduction has been essential in significantly reducing the rate of drug abuse among the individuals. Therefore, harm reduction is necessary and should be facilitated by the government of the United States. As a result, harm reduction policies should be moderated to practical help in eradicating drug abuse, help in assisting the government controls, and supporting communities and public health.


Harm reduction refers to the public health policy that has been established majorly for adults with substance abuse challenges and whom the abstinence is not feasible. According to Hartnoll and Hedrich (2015), harm reduction mechanisms have been continuously effective in reducing the mortality and morbidity rates within the adult populations. In the past years, it has been applied in the sexual health learning with the objective of reducing teen pregnancies and the sexually transmitted infections. Moreover, the programs employing harm reduction philosophies have significantly reduced risks to alcohol and substance abuse. Target human population and contexts through which the harm reduction policies are offered fundamentally influence distinct interventions employed. Therefore, the healthcare professionals and practitioners providing care to the patients must be aware and familiarize themselves with various types of the harm reduction policies.

Opposition to Harm Reduction Strategies

Soussan and Kjellgren (2014) outline that these systems mainly aim at reducing risks associated with the drug abuse, adolescent and health behaviors. Despite being essential, harm reduction experiences constant opposition from the public and organizations.it is considered cost-effective for the government, non-beneficial to the community and public health, it fails to assist individuals with drug abuse. Moreover, Nginet al. (2017) elaborates that harm reduction is likely to affect the government controls through its strategies. Harm reduction strategies include needle exchanges that provide syringes and drug paraphernalia to the consumers, the naloxone distribution strategy that offers naloxone to the users. Additionally, supervised injection avenues considered as the most controversial strategy of the harm reduction. Therefore, this research paper focuses on the argument against harm reduction strategies with more emphasis on the principles of justice outlined by the public health care ethics. Moreover, the research paper describes how harm reductions may affect government controls and fail to reduce the abuse of drugs among the individuals.


The research paper employs qualitative data obtained from individuals who have applied harm reduction strategies. Quantitative data is collected from the government and private institutions that have implemented harm reductions strategies over the past years. Interviews are conducted on individuals through open and closed-ended questionnaires. The questionnaires are filled after obtaining the consent of an individual (Faden et al., 2014). Data analysis is done using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS).primary and secondary data have been used to determine the correlations between various factors against harm reduction policies.

Results and Discussions

It is argued that one principal effect of a continuous resistance against harm reduction policies and the plans is that the strategies are under greater scrutiny as compared to other forms of drug addiction and alcohol abuse. According to Faden et al. (2014), several programs such as a syringe and needle plans have been under evaluations nationally for the past decades.as a result, people oppose harm reduction plans due to the following facts

Encouraging Drug Use

One principal argument against harm reduction policies is that they promote the use of drugs among the individuals within Canada and other states. Hartnoll and Hedrich (2015) outline that through reduction of the harms related to drug and substance abuse, many people especially the youths are readily prepared to use drugs. Majority of the individuals participate in the activity frequently when it is secure with less increase in number. But harm reductions consider total harm to be decreasing when such events are made less harmful. According to Chen et al. (2014), harm reduction strategies are believed to increase drug use since it is characterized by cheaper equipment that individuals easily afford to administer drugs into their bodies. But the increase in drug use affects government control system since there are more drugs for the public. This requires the government controls to employ corrections mechanisms for the affected generations to help reduce substance abuse. Through the use of syringes and needles, the applications of drugs in the body have been increasing among the consumers. These programs are faster, reliable, and sufficient for the consumers as compared to the initial methods.

Sending of wrong messages

Hartnoll and Hedrich (2015) argue that despite the effectiveness of harm reduction strategies, the harm-reduction plans communicate information and messages that continuously encourage drug use and abuse. These programs suggest that without such intentions, significant harm reduction ingenuities imply data construed as a critical approval. However, Chen et al. (2014) argue that it has not been clear whether harm reduction policies imply an endorsement of drug applications. But the approval affects government since there would be increased drug consumption among the citizens. Therefore, since the strategies incorporate wrong messages, they should be avoided and not implemented by the organizations and institutions. However, principles of justice should be established in ensuring such information is not available to the public.

There are no real treatments

The harm reduction strategies have been identified not to be real treatment. According to Matteini (2017), there are concerns that using the harm reduction approaches enable substance abuse and continue keeping people stuck with a given pattern of addiction which is hard to escape. For example, the methadone maintenance treatments that continue to be evaluated against different drug-free alternative medications. Based on these factors, Soussan and Kjellgren (2014) argue that it is evident that harm reduction policies cannot sufficiently protect individuals from constant addiction and drug abuse. Faden et al. (2014) elaborates that this requires the government to establish other mechanisms through which harm reduction can be useful for the individuals in eradicating substance abuse. Moreover, these need standard measure and observation of the health care ethics. But instead of offering real treatments, the harm reduction strategies increases drug delivery mechanisms in the body of an individual

How It Affects Government

Harm reduction policies jeopardize the government control in many ways thereby preventing the government from active control of drug and alcohol abuse among the individuals. Hartnoll and Hedrich (2015) elaborate that harm reduction programs are cost-effective and require extra funding by the government. As a result, this makes the government increase revenue and tax collection imposed on various drugs and enterprises. For example, an efficacy of the syringe and needle plans in preventing current infections is costly and requires regular maintenance that cannot be supported by the government. Moreover, Matteini (2017) outlines that the devices used by the harm reduction plans are costly thereby making states rely on the local mechanisms of reducing harms. As a result, controlling drug and substance abuse continues to be a challenging factor and requires additional budget. However, previous studies outline that harm reduction strategies play a significant role in ensuring that corrective measures on drug abuse are enacted by the governments and various institutions (Purtilo & Doherty, 2015). These rules provide that states can control illegal trading of drugs and consumption among the citizens. But how does harm reduction policies fail to benefit public health and community? Since its establishment, the harm reduction policies have been assisting the communities in saving funds and resources.

According to Soussan and Kjellgren (2014), many people continue to survive due to the efficient harm reduction policies that have reduced mortality rates that occur due to HIV/AIDS and other infectious disorders. But this has changed due to the increased failure of observing harm reduction plans. As a result, the public health and community continue to suffer. However, Harris and Rhodes (2013) argues that in ensuring continuity for the communities and public health, many institutions consider the principle of justice to be effective among the individuals. For the harm reduction strategies, health care ethics ensures the principle of justice is observed by individuals. This has been facilitated through fair allocation of the harm reduction scarce resources (the distributive truth), there must be respect for individual rights regarding reducing harms (justice based on entitlements).Additionally, Matteini (2017) argues that there must be respect for acceptable laws (the legal truth) governing harm reduction policies. Various government and health care institutions ensure that principle of justice is observed among the drug addicts and ordinary citizens. This significantly assists in eliminating non-effective harm reduction programs.


Harm reduction strategies are developmentally congruent approaches to the prevention of risky behaviors in the individuals. Harm reduction policies were established in 1980 with the main objective of reducing various harms related to specific behaviors. The systems reduce morbidity and mortality rates that occur within a human population. Despite being significant, there are resistances on the harm reduction policies. The argument against harm reduction strategies is that they encourage the use of drugs among individuals. It does not offer real treatment to the patients. Moreover, it fails to secure benefits for the public health and communities through failure to prevent drug abuse and saving of funds. Based on the current harm reduction policies, these policies affect government controls in different ways. For example, the reduction strategies increase exportation and trade on illegal drugs. The plans not only encourage drug abuse but they are expensive and provide wrong messages to the public. Therefore, despite the significance of the harm reduction policies, this research paper finds it significant that these policies affect government, encourage drug use, it is non-beneficial to the community and public health. As a result, harm reduction strategies should be avoided and never implemented.


Chen, Y. Y., Chu, T. S., Kao, Y. H., Tsai, P. R., Huang, T. S., & Ko, W. J. (2014). To evaluate the effectiveness of health care ethics consultation based on the goals of health care ethics consultation: a prospective cohort study with randomization. BMC medical ethics, 15(1),

Faden, R. R., Beauchamp, T. L., & Kass, N. E. (2014). Informed consent, comparative effectiveness, and learning health care. N Engl J Med, 370(8), 766-768.

Harris, M., & Rhodes, T. (2013). Methadone diversion as a protective strategy: the harm reduction potential of ‘generous constraints’. International Journal of Drug Policy, 24(6), e43-e50.

Hartnoll, R., & Hedrich, D. (2015). Harm Reduction Policies, Settings and Challenges. Textbook of Addiction Treatment: International Perspectives, 1315-1335.

Matteini, M. (2017). How Does the 12-step Model of Recovery Benefit and Complicate Harm Reduction Strategies for Substance Abusing Adolescent Youth?.

Ngin, C., Sawez, G., Pal, K., Srey, M., Golichenko, O., Chhoun, P., ... & Tuot, S. (2017). How understanding and application of drug-related legal instruments affects harm reduction interventions in Cambodia: a qualitative study. Harm reduction journal, 14(1), 39.

Purtilo, R. B., & Doherty, R. F. (2015). Ethical dimensions in the health professions. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Shewan, L. G., Coats, A., & Henein, M. (2015, May). Requirements for Ethical Publishing in Biomedical Journals. In International Cardiovascular Forum Journal (Vol. 2, p. 2).

Soussan, C., & Kjellgren, A. (2014). Harm reduction and knowledge exchange—a qualitative analysis of drug-related Internet discussion forums. Harm reduction journal, 11(1), 25.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price