Harm Reduction Training Request
Principles of Harm Reduction

What is Harm Reduction?

Incorporating a spectrum of strategies including safer techniques, managed use, and abstinence to promote the dignity and wellbeing of people.  A framework for understanding structural inequalities like poverty, racism, homophobia, classism, etc.  Meeting people “where they are,” but not leaving them there


We Use People First Language:

A person is a person first, and a behavior is something that can change — terms like “drug addict” or “user” imply someone is “something” instead of someone.  Stigma is a barrier to care and we want people to feel comfortable when accessing services, harm reduction focuses on the whole person

Health & Dignity:
Establishes quality of individual and community life and wellbeing as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.

Participant Centered Services:  Calls for nonjudgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.

Participant Involvement:  Ensures participants and communities impacted have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.

Participant Autonomy:  Affirms participants as the primary agents of change, and seeks to empower participants to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of harm.

Sociocultural Factors:  Recognizes that the realities of various social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with potential harm.

Pragmatism & Realism:  Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with drug use or other risk behaviors.


Risk Reduction: Tools and services to reduce potential harm
(h)arm (r)eduction: The approach and fundamentals to reduce potential harm
(H)arm (R)eduction: A philosophical and political movement focused on shifting power and resources to people most vulnerable to structural violence
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