Harm Reduction, Choice, and ‘Adam Ruins Everything’


This is very interesting… in a recent episode of the TV show Adam Ruins Everything, he debunked the value of rehabs or treatment at all, insisting that drugs and alcohol have been in society for adamthousands of years, and just aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. He goes on to say the war on drugs, particularly the D.A.R.E. program (which he says actually increased drug consumption), has failed miserably, and there are even more addicts now than ever. His solution to the problem- harm reduction.

Any of us who live in the recovery arenas, have seen the revolving door of rehab, addicts who have logged 10-20 years of using despite participating in numerous programs, clients of drug court who incorporated theft or some other crime in relation to using drugs or alcohol, and homeless folks who live day to day, getting their drugs or drink when they can, with little thought of ever quitting. What is deep in the minds of all these people, with that one common thread that connects them? How can we reach them and help them measurably improve their lives?

If a person is unable to fully delete drugs/alcohol from their agenda, why not help them to, at least, practice behaviors that will reduce the negative impact they have had on their lives. A well know recovery slogan is ‘progress not perfection’, and it is a very defeating attitude to presume that anything less than total abstinence is failure. Moderation and harm reduction can be taught- to some people, that is. Harm reduction could using a condom or wearing a seat belt, walking to the bar instead of driving, or choosing a glass of wine over a syringe of heroin. Is harm reduction ‘permission giving’? No it is not.

It comes down to ‘choice’. Because we are all individuals, with different wants, needs, learning styles, goals, etc, there must to be more than just one approach to the drug and alcohol epidemic. Don’t give up entirely simply because you are not able to conform with the stanch right-wing abstinence approach, or just don’t like the AA agenda. Finding a group or program that aligns with your philosophy and a counselor or life coach that you respect and can be honest with, will surely increase your chances of success- whatever your personal goals may be.

August 15, 2017


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