A review of the evidence-base for harm reduction approaches to drug use

Harm reduction is a term that is used to refer both to a set of general principles used to underpin policies concerning the way that societies respond to drug problems and, simultaneously, to some specific types of intervention, such as needle and syringe programmes and methadone treatment, which are often seen as being synonymous with harm reduction. This overview addresses both understandings of harm reduction and summarises its key principles before going on to consider the strength and nature of the evidence of the effectiveness of various forms of harm reduction intervention. In doing so, some consideration is also given to criticisms of harm reduction that are occasionally encountered.

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