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 been already 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.
For people who have loved an addict, for people who have been an addict, and for people who have watched an addict die due to their addiction – all we want to see is some action. We are at a really tricky moment in our nation’s history where no one can agree on what to do. There never seems to be enough money going where it needs to go, and not much improvement is actually going on. But harm reduction could be a means to help. 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.
What are Harm Reduction Programs?
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.
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, that harm reduction programs provide services. For example, they are pushing in many countries to increasing 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.
Areas of Needed Growth
According to the group Harm Reduction International (HRI), which is currently pushing the UN to practice their 10 by 20 program, there is still a lot of change that needs to happen. HRI has compiled data that proves that if many countries allocated just one-tenth of the funding they push towards drug enforcement into harm reduction programs, there would be a dramatic change. For example, they state that just 10 cents of every dollar spent on enforcement would cover annual HIV and hepatitis C prevention for injection users. Globally, twice over.
Many people live with Hepatitis C and HIV. The funding for treatment is definitely possible, so the HRI is pushing many government agencies, the UN, and the WHO to increase funding into harm reduction 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
Reach out to us today at 855.494.0357 to learn more about our programs.