Harm reduction refers to the use of programs, practices and policies established with the aim of reducing negative economic, social and health effects which result from the consumption of illegal drugs. The aim of the program is not to stop the victim from using drugs but reduce its effects. The program is based on social justice, human rights and public health. Harm reduction recognizes the value of helping drug users out of the act but it also puts into consideration those people who cannot do without drugs.
The program takes serious measures on the prevention of HIV and Aids which is causing deaths of large numbers of people on daily basis. Some of the approaches used in harm reduction include needle exchange and Methadone therapy. Studies have shown that exchanging clean needles for used ones help in prevention of HIV and Aids. Methadone a treatment for narcotic addiction reduces HIV infections and other crimes (Erickson, 1997).
According to Erickson (1997), the program is beneficial to drug users, their families and the community at large. Secondly, it reduces stigmatization among drug users. They are treated with due respect. Finally, issues related to drug use are addressed in a systematic way.
It reduces injuries, diseases, and death resulting from risky behaviours. The program educates people on the importance of safe injection in the treatment HIV and Aids. Educates people about sexual health enhanced through the use of condoms.
Erickson (1997) argues that not all drug related problems result from consumption of drugs. Failure to regulate manufacture of drugs, possession and sell of illegal drugs (drug trafficking), application of laws which bring about inequality and poor policies contribute to problems associated with drug use.
12 step program
The 12 step program is a series of twelve steps towards freedom from drug use and abuse. The first step involves acceptance that we have no freedom over drug use. Without the drug the body cannot function normally. The person has no control over the use of the drug. Next drug users should have the believe that they could be restored to sanity by this power which exceeds their own.
Victims should then decide to follow Gods commands whose promise is to take away all burdens from His loved children. The next step is for the user to look back into their lives and determine the factors which led them to the use of drugs. The next step is to admit we have wronged against God, other people and ourselves. Next is getting ready for God to deliver us from the bad character (Wilson & Kolander, 2011).
According to Wilson and Kolander (2011), the seventh step is to humbly request God to remove the sinful nature. Next is to make a list of all people that the victim has harmed and be ready to make amends to all of them. It is necessary to amend directly to the people unless the act will cause injuries to them or other people.
The person should continue getting personal inventory and admit cases in which they committed crimes. Next, the person should commit themselves to prayers so that know what God demands from them and get the power to execute Gods commands. Following the above steps leads to spiritual awakening. These principles help drug users to adjust their behaviour.
The programs helps drug addicts recover from the behaviour. It enhances freedom and happiness to the user. It is free and unlimited, everyone is absorbed and the recovery procedure is well outlined (Wilson & Kolander, 2011).
Many people believe that it is difficult to cure drug addiction. The therapy should be combined with other approaches in order to be effective. People have different religious believes. For those who do not believe in the existence of God, they find the approach ineffective. There is a likelihood of the victim going back to the destructive activities (Wilson & Kolander, 2011).
The two theories are similar in the sense that they aim at reducing problems related to drug use and abuse. The different between the two is that harm reduction does not require the victim to avoid using the drug while 12 step program does. Both approaches are applicable to people from all age groups. I will advise my friends and family members to adopt the 12 step theory because the person is encouraged to completely avoid using the drug by obeying Gods commands (Witkiewitz & Marlatt, 2006).
Erickson, G. (1997). Harm reduction: a new direction for drug policies and programs. New York, NY: University of Toronto Press.
Wilson, R. & Kolander, C. (2011). Drug abuse prevention. London: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Witkiewitz, K. & Marlatt, A. (2006). Overview of harm reduction treatments for alcohol problems: International Journal of Drug Policy, 17: 285-294.