When harm reduction expansion stifles activism: A lesson from Europe

Without activism, highly damaging structures—the remaining bad drug policies and inequalities—are left unchallenged
Filter (US)
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Western European harm reduction presents an interesting paradox. On the one hand, the widespread availability of effective harm reduction programs is laudable. Drug-related disease rates are low. Overdose rates are low. A variety of treatment options, from abstinence to methadone to prescription heroin, are available in many areas at no cost. Integrated care models⁠—ones that recognize the complex stew of social, economic, psychological and familial circumstances that contribute to problematic drug use⁠—are common. Gone are the days of begging for funding scraps to support a meager staff. But these far-reaching successes have come at a price. (See also: Where have all the activists gone?)