Saturday, March 28, 2009

Harm Reduction


It seems harm reduction is back in debate around the world. Check out this article for an Australian angle.. the global debate happens at the UN as the war on drugs is considered a failure.. many experts opting for harm reduction as a better strategy. I'm not convinced - especially since the proponents of the argument are using Vancouver as the best example... I lived and worked in the area they are talking about for over 5 years and I can tell you that harm reduction (especially in that sense) is not working. Most addicts think it's funny - it's like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound... it's almost pitiful really. I still believe we should be heading towards harm elimination - and not settling for a simple reduction (and who defines reduced harm...?).
In an australian (and vancouver for that matter) context this means the beefing up of experimental and flexible treatment options (for women and children and whole families) to re-group and discover new ways of living... it means holding out for transformation for every individual - especially preventative action for young kids at risk (almost 80% of drug addicts in Vancouver are from the foster care system... the situation there has less to do with drugs and more to do with a societial breakdown of the unwanted and abandoned). Anyway, not to break down the whole debate in this blog but to suggest that godly people begin to use our imagination towards a better world - can we even imagine a world where people are free from the chains of addiction altogether - where children are welcomed into homes and systems where acceptance and love are easier to access than clean needles. I'm praying God will help us use our godly imaginations to change the world.