Vice Squad
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Harry Levine on Harm Reduction

Yesterday I promised a few more nuggets from Harry Levine's "The Secret of Worldwide Drug Prohibition," a 2002 article in The Independent Review. Harm reduction is the term applied to policies that generally don't aim at eliminating drug use, but rather, try to limit the harms that are imposed by drug use. Standard heroin harm-reduction strategies include methadone maintenance and needle exchanges. But most harm reduction strategies are designed to work within the currently existing drug prohibition regime. Levine notes the symmetry:

"Harm-reduction advocates' stance toward drug prohibition is exactly the same as their stance toward drug use. Harm reduction seeks to reduce the harmful effects of drug use without requiring users to be drug free. It also seeks to reduce the harmful effects of drug prohibition without requiring governments to be prohibition free."

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