Pubdate: Tue, 19 Sep 2017
Source: Cape Breton Post (CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 Cape Breton Post
Author: Nikki Sullivan
Page: A4


Harm reduction is one kind of treatment approach for helping people
with substance abuse disorders and it can be confusing for people not
familiar with it.

"Sometimes people think it's abstinence versus harm reduction but that
isn't true," said Laura Chapman, health promotion specialist with
Mental Health and Addiction Services.

"Harm reduction absolutely includes abstinence."

Chapman and many other clinical therapists, counsellors and other
professionals working directly with people suffering from substance
abuse disorders feel harm reduction is an important tool.

"Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative
consequences that can result from drug use," Chapman explained.

"These strategies meet people where they are at and they address the
conditions of the substance use and the use itself."

With harm reduction, the focus is on the person, not the drug, which
can give people with substance abuse disorder a feeling they can get
help in a way that works for them.

The principals behind harm reduction include treating all clients with
dignity and never judging a client if they choose to continue to use.

Some things included in harm reduction strategies are safer needle
distribution sites, safer consumption sites, take home Naloxone
programs and having therapy or treatment created by the clinician and
client together.

Harm reduction doesn't condone or condemn any behaviour, including
continued drug use, and aims to help people achieve their goals to
make positive changes in their lives.

However, it also doesn't promote drug use. It is about helping people
who use drugs stay healthy and it has been proven to help reduce the
number of cases of HIV, Hepatitis C and drug overdose.

Chapman said she sees a lot of contention around harm reduction. She
thinks if more people understood what it is, there would be less
negative talk about it. This, she believes, could lead to a higher
success rate when working with people suffering from substance abuse
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