The Reduction of Drug-Related Harm
The War on Drugs' has traditionally had total abstinence as its target. The contributors to this book take a new and challenging approach to problem drug use, arguing that abstinence is not the only solution. They believe that existing methods of treatment and control have been inadequate in controlling or improving drug problems and they propose a radical alternative: reducing the harm associated with the use of illicit drugs. International in scope, the book covers a broad range of drugs, and of social and individual problems. The spread of HIV infection, which has been described as a greater threat to individual and public health than drug misuse is also considered. The contributors give an overview of the current theories and practices that have helped to minimise the harmful effects of drugs and describe national and city-level strategies towards drug problems. They also cover the drug policies of several agencies and organisations world-wide, including police, doctors, community groups and local authorities. Concentrating on reducing drug-related harm, this in an important contribtuion to the debate on the future shape of drug control systems. It questions the role and function of existing drug laws and discusses how harm reduction will shape day-to-day work with drug users. Provocative and persuasive, it should be read by all policy-makers and practitioners faced with drugs problems, and will do much to help establish new strategies for dealing with drug use, strategies that minimise rather than exacerbate drug-related harm.