What Is Harm Reduction, Anyway?

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    We often describe Filter as “harm reduction journalism”—meaning both journalism that comes out of and reports on the harm reduction movement, but also journalism aimed at reducing the harms of traditional drug coverage.

    Despite the rapid growth of harm reduction, however, many people still have shaky or non-existent ideas of what the term means. The video above, produced by the Harm Reduction Action Center of Denver, does a great job of explaining it.

    The video is a few years old, so some info is a little outdated. The narrator says that “47,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States last year.” But recently things have gotten much worse: In 2017, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the US.

    The main thrust of the video, however, holds up as strong as ever: “These deaths are preventable.”

    The video lists seatbelts, parachutes, sunscreen and hard hats as examples of harm reduction strategies that are already “all around us.”


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