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Harm Reduction for Young People: Why A Youth Network? Diane Riley, PhD Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, Youth Network for Harm Reduction & University.

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Presentation on theme: "Harm Reduction for Young People: Why A Youth Network? Diane Riley, PhD Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, Youth Network for Harm Reduction & University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Harm Reduction for Young People: Why A Youth Network? Diane Riley, PhD Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, Youth Network for Harm Reduction & University of Toronto 1 st Youth Network for Harm Reduction International Meeting Warsaw May 2007

2 Harm Reduction2 History of the Harm Reduction Movement ► 1920s: prescribing of drugs in UK supported ► 1960s: methadone treatment established ► 1970s: harm reduction for alcohol ► 1980s: syringe exchanges begun in Netherlands, UK, Australia, Canada etc ► 1980s: harm reduction education spreads ► 1990: first International conference, Liverpool ► 1996: IHRA launched ► 1996-present: regional networks formed in Asia, Latin America, CEE, Middle East & North Africa (Africa dormant)

3 Harm Reduction3 Why a Youth Network? ► What IHRA and the regional networks do ► Limits of adult approach with youth ► Value of peer to peer approaches ► Role of mentors/advisors ► Harm reduction for street kids ► Training and education

4 Harm Reduction4 Harm Reduction: Aims ► Reduce the spread of infections such as HIV & Hep C ► Reduce risky drug use ► Prevent drug overdose deaths ► Provide honest drug education ► Increase users' contact with services and treatment

5 Harm Reduction5 Harm Reduction - Definition Harm Reduction - Definition  Harm reduction aims to reduce the adverse health, social, and economic consequences of drug use while the person is still using drugs.

6 Harm Reduction6 Drug-related Harms ► The term harm reduction implies that drugs can cause real harms. ► Harms are psychological, physical, social, legal, economic ► Harms are to individual, family, community, society ► Harms are not an inevitable consequence of drug use. ► They can be prevented or reduced through a range of strategies

7 Harm Reduction7 Programs Harm reduction programs include: ► Moderate drinking ► Needle and Syringe exchange ► Education ► Peer outreach ► Methadone maintenance ► Safer use sites ► Crack cocaine kits ► Drug policy reform

8 Harm Reduction8 Basic Concepts  Focuses on reducing harms to individual, family & community & not simply on reducing use  Accepts that drug use is human and brings with it both harms & benefits  Sees substance use as a public health & human rights issue, not a criminal one.  Does not promote drug use & does not judge drug use as good or bad.  Morally neutral  Non-Coercive

9 Harm Reduction9 Basic Concepts  Acknowledges that stopping drug use may not be realistic or desirable for everyone  Provides practical strategies for reducing risks & harms  No person should be denied access to services because of their drug use.

10 Harm Reduction10 Basic Concepts ► Balances costs and benefits ► Provides accurate information ► Attempts to promote & facilitate access to care for drug misuse & mental health problems ► Engages drug users in a continuum of care from which they would otherwise be excluded

11 Harm Reduction11 Harm Reduction Principles ► Pragmatism ► Focus on Harms ► Hierarchy of goals ► Reward not punishment ► Humanistic & Human Rights Based ► Non-judgmental ► Reduce Stigma ► Autonomy ► Flexibility ► Evidence based

12 Harm Reduction12 Why Harm Reduction? ► We will never have a drug-free society ► Abstinence has its limitations for many ► Enforcement has its limitations ► Primary prevention has its limitations ► People will continue to use drugs and get sick & die. ► We can reduce illness, suffering, deaths and other harms that people experience.


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