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Thu Feb 15, 2018, 10:02 AM

Harm Reduction

Let me start by saying that my son is a recovering heroin addict.
There is a controversy raging in Philadelphia right now about "safe sites" where drug users can use clean needles and be supervised by medical personnel who carry Narcan in case of overdose. These sites would also provide information about recovery programs and (hopefully) a fast-track to rehab when the drug user is ready.
You can hear the objections now - "This will only encourage them!" and of course "but not in MY neighborhood!" But to me, parent of an addict, if these sites save one life then I am 100% in favor. Yes we want to end the scourge of addiction. We also want fewer people to die.
This is harm reduction - we're not going to solve this problem now but we can take steps to save lives and make the problem a little less awful while we work on a solution.
The gun nuts (we all know them) most common argument is "the bad guys are going to get guns anyway!" Yes BUT if there were restrictions maybe SOME people would not be able to get a gun, and there would be one less school shooting. One less needless death. Can we start there?
One of my son's HS classmates committed suicide at age 16, with his father's gun. Teenagers are impulsive. If Dad's gun wasn't handy, would this boy still be alive? More than likely.
We're not going to solve this problem overnight but we can work for fewer deaths. Of course their 2nd Amendment Rights are far more important.

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Reply Harm Reduction (Original post)
Freddie Feb 2018 OP
TreasonousBastard Feb 2018 #1

Response to Freddie (Original post)

Thu Feb 15, 2018, 10:23 AM

1. My brother was an addict and he got cleaned up before it was too late...

But it could have gone either way at one point, so I have some idea what you are going through.

The kneejerk reactions from some quarters against these programs make me crazy. If it works and doesn't cause worse problems, then just do it. The only way to deal with the suspicions that these will make the problem worse is to try it and see.

Addiction is a problem, but more than just addiction are the problems of illegal drug channels, unsafe drugs, other crime and societal damage caused by the search for a fix, and just general social destruction from the secondary effects of addiction.


Heroin-assisted treatment, or diamorphine assisted treatment, refers to the prescribing of synthetic, injectable heroin to opiate addicts who do not benefit from or cannot tolerate treatment with one of the established drugs used in opiate replacement therapy like methadone or buprenorphine (brand name Suboxone). For this group of patients, heroin assisted treatment has proven superior in improving their social and health situation.[2] It has also been shown to save money, as it significantly reduces costs incurred by trials, incarceration, health interventions and delinquency.[3] It has also drastically reduced overdose deaths in the countries utilizing it, as patients take their dose in a controlled, professionally supervised setting, and Narcan (naloxone) is on hand in the case of an accidental overdose. Opiate related overdoses in the U.S. kill around 20,000 people per year.

Heroin assisted treatment is fully a part of the national health system in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada,[4] and Denmark.[5] Additional trials are being carried out in the United Kingdom,[6] and Belgium.[7]

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