LOVE IN THE TRENCHES AND HARM REDUCTION

Love In The Trenches and Harm Reduction

The National Harm Reduction Coalition is reluctant to define Harm Reduction but instead considers it a spectrum of strategies that include safer use, managed use, abstinence, meeting people “where they’re at,” and addressing conditions of use along with the use itself. Given that there is no universal definition or formula for implementing harm reduction, LITT is in agreement with NHRC that the principles of harm reduction are as follows:

 

  • Accepts, for better or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them 

  • Establishes quality of individual and community life and well-being — not necessarily cessation of all drug use — as the criteria for successful interventions and policies 

  • Ensures that people who use drugs (PWUD) and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them 

  • Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination, and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm 

  • Understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe use to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others

  • Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to PWUD and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm  

  • Affirms PWUD themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use and seeks to empower PWUD

  • to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use 

  • Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger that can be associated with illicit drug use 


 

Furthermore, LITT advocates for the establishment of free and reduced-cost recovery resources that include both inpatient and outpatient options as well as ongoing counseling. We support the use of medically assisted detox and the right of individuals to make their own decisions about short and long-term medical maintenance for recovery including the use of suboxone and methadone, and strongly advocate for an individual’s right to access a medically led plan for both the use of and discontinuation of such drugs.