As I wrote yesterday morning, NIDA has had an agenda that “focuses on prohibition and abstinence, rather than harm reduction and respect of human agency.”
So I was surprised to see this blog post yesterday in NIDA for Teens: Concerts and Drugs: Is There a Way to Reduce the Dangers?
They don’t come out and endorse harm reduction, of course, but they openly discuss it.
… But some music festivals are trying a different approach to reduce the bad experiences for concert-goers determined to get high off of illicit drugs.
â€œHarm reductionâ€ is an approach that is based on the belief that some people will do risky, dangerous, and sometimes illegal things even if they know that it could hurt them or have an outcome they donâ€™t want. Risky behaviors include things like using drugs, having casual sex, and binge drinking. And examples of unwanted outcomes from these behaviors include getting HIV, pregnant or arrested, or into a drunk-driving accident.
Supporters of harm reduction feel that educating and protecting people about how to reduce unwanted outcomes is more realistic and helpful than educating them on why they shouldnâ€™t do it in the first place. However, others say there should be a â€œzero toleranceâ€ approach and that by trying reduce harm from using drugs, you are encouraging drug use.
And they conclude the post by asking…
What do you think? Will harm-reduction programs at concerts help people make smarter decisions about their health, or encourage risky behavior?
Again, in a sane world, NIDA would be actively promoting harm reduction. But in ours, it’s a breath of fresh air just to see them acknowledge its existence.