Many opinions are being thrown around these days about the best ways to combat the opioid epidemic. Our President recently told us that the best method was going to be anti-drug advertisements. Other people say it’s funding more opioid addiction treatment centers. Others even say medication-assisted programs are the way to go. With all of these differing opinions, there is actually one method of action that has already been working throughout many other parts of the world–harm reduction. Harm reduction programs are designed to minimize the damage addiction causes and manage oneself and others.
Harm reduction encompasses addiction support, suicide prevention programs, education, and resources. The team at Harmony Hills believes in pursuing as many avenues as possible to help individuals struggling with substance abuse get the help they need from a substance abuse treatment center to heal and recover. Call 855.494.0357 today to learn more.
What Are Harm Reduction Programs for Addiction?
Harm reduction is based on the line of thought that people are not going to stop using drugs. We will never be able to eradicate addiction. So, if these things are impossible to control, the emphasis shouldn’t be on doing so. It should be on ensuring the safety of the people who are suffering from addiction and encouraging the need for heroin addiction treatment programs.
The six principles of harm reduction are:
Over the past decade, these programs have been popping up all over the world. They are primarily geared towards people who use injection methods like that used in heroin addiction. The introduction of harm reduction programs started after the HIV explosion in the ’80s, especially followed by the heroin explosion in the ’90s.
Many people saw a need to try and take preventative measures beyond the “Just Say No” campaign, as cases of HIV were continuing to rise. This is where the idea of clean needle and syringe exchange programs came in. Many countries had taken a pretty bureaucratic stance on selling needles and syringes, which led many IV users to share and reuse their needles.
Because of this, new cases of HIV and even Hepatitis C were cropping up all over the world. However, there are still many countries that are still uneasy about providing people access to these facilities.
There are also other areas, aside from clean needle exchanges, where harm reduction programs provide services. For example, they are pushing in many countries to increase opioid substitution programs such as medically assisted treatment alternatives like suboxone and methadone programs.
Harm reduction programs also provide people with access to 12-step programs, fellowships, drug education, assistance programs for mothers with children, providing naloxone to underfunded communities, and advocating treatment before incarceration and basic human rights.
The Benefits of Harm Reduction and Why It’s So Important
Harm reduction is a lesser-understood facet of addiction treatment that can be beneficial to those struggling with active addiction. These benefits include:
- Preventing drug-related deaths
- Preventing infectious disease
- Providing access to healthcare and/or treatment
- Providing access to social services, education, and resources
Harm reduction is an important approach to public health because it helps people reduce their risk of harm from drug use. This approach recognizes the reality that many people are using drugs, and instead of trying to eliminate drug use altogether, it focuses on minimizing the negative consequences associated with it. Research has shown that harm reduction strategies like needle exchange programs, safe injection sites, and opioid substitution therapy can significantly reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases among drug users. Additionally, harm reduction strategies can also help people who use drugs to access healthcare services, reduce overdose deaths, and connect people who are struggling with substance use disorders to treatment programs.
Find the Support You Need at Harmony Hills
Substance abuse doesn’t just affect the individual. Addiction has a ripple effect impacting loved ones, friends, coworkers, and peers. A harm reduction program is just one way the team at Harmony Hills helps individuals lay the foundation for recovery. Our treatment professionals are familiar with all sorts of drug and alcohol abuse. Some of the treatment programs we offer include:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Benzo addiction treatment
- Heroin addiction treatment
- Opiate addiction treatment
- Opioid addiction treatment
- Stimulant addiction treatment