Originally Published in Ideastream | Full Story Link Here
This outreach worker for a needle exchange program in Cleveland is gathering basic information from a drug user before handing him new needles in exchange for his used ones. The program aims to reduce HIV or Hepatitis B and C infections that can occur when heroin addicts share needles.
The program is one example of what’s known as a harm reduction model, which emphasizes treating addiction with compassion rather than punishment, according to Professor Mark Singer of Case Western Reserve University.
“The harm reduction model essentially is a model that says that it’s important for individuals to not harm themselves, not harm others, and certainly not harm the community and society in general,” said Singer. “So the harm reduction approach is very humane and person-centered to help them with their problems rather than punish them with their problems.”