Pros-or-ConsJust outside my Ivy League school, I observe a small crowd of people across the street.  As I enjoy the coffee shop’s specialty macchiato  on that sunny afternoon, my friend rambles on as he tries to include me in his ramblings about his upcoming calculus test.

Intrigued by the line of people standing outside brick building I study them as their slow, uncoordinated movements, like a scene from a science fiction movie; zombies lurking around a building waiting to feast on the live humans inside. My friend notices I am completely ignoring him and he calls my name a few times before getting my attention.

Noticing my puzzlement he comments, “Oh them – they are waiting to get into the “injection site””. I picture being attacked by a group of these individuals who have been “injected” which leading us on a climatic adventure of escape through the city.

He adds “That is an injection site…they’re heroin addicts and are waiting to go in to take their drugs in front of medical professionals so they can safely and legally use heroin.”

The scene I just painted is not the fantasy you think.  Ithaca, New York is home to Cornell University, a top Ivy League School. The current Mayor of Ithaca is 29 years old and one of the youngest in the nation to hold office. The Mayor and members of a committee hope that Ithaca will soon be home to these injection sites where drug users can legally and safely take their drugs under the attention of medical professionals. This is one of the four pillars of a drug policy dubbed “The Ithaca Plan” which is based on the four points of Prevention, Treatment, Law Enforcement and Harm Reduction.

An important aspect of Harm Reduction is safe injection sites where a drug addict can go to use drugs with medical oversight to lessen the chances of a drug overdose. Harm reduction or harm minimization are public health policies utilized in an effort to reduce the risk of different behaviors or actions, both legal or illegal.

The harm reduction model takes the viewpoint it is inevitable that people will commit illegal or destructive acts but there can be efforts made to reduce the damage of those acts. There are both agreements for these modalities as well as skepticism and criticism. Critics’ argue the harm reduction model is actually tolerating and in some cases may be encouraging the illegal or immoral behavior. Those who are pro harm reduction as well as conservatives would both agree it is not the government’s job to interfere unless the person poses a threat to others, such as through drunk driving or violence while under the influence.

Pro or con?

Written by Jeff Rowlands

JeffAfter his discharge from the Army, Jeff worked as a lab technician in Pennsylvania, later relocating to Louisiana. He became certified as a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor – Certified Addiction Specialist in 2014 and now holds the position of Deputy Executive Director for Internal at Narconon Louisiana  working to assist clients with uncovering the life situation(s) which led to or resulted in their abuse of drugs or alcohol.

One Response to “Harm Reduction; Pro or Con?”

  1. Bruce D says:

    they are setting up a ridiculous model of defeatism. It is a collapse.

Narconon Louisiana New Life Retreat, Inc. is a BBB Accredited Rehabilitation Service in Denham Springs, LA