Publication Detail

Lenton, S. and Single, E. (1998). The definition of harm reduction. Drug and Alcohol Review, 17, (2), pp. 213-220. [RJ224] View web page

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SUMMARY: Some of the previous attempts at definition of harm reduction are critiqued and a practical set of criteria are offered for determining whether a given policy or programme should be considered to be harm reduction or not. It is argued that the central defining characteristic of harm reduction is that it focuses on reduction of harm as its primary goal rather than reduction of use per se. Secondly that strategies are included to reduce the harm for those who continue to use drugs, and thirdly that strategies are included which aim to demonstrate that, on the balance of probabilities, it is likely to result in a net reduction in drug related harm. A set of principles are presented which are common to many policies, programmes or interventions which are generally regarded as harm reduction.

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