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Harm reduction is a pragmatic approach to patients whose addiction is compounded by other psychological and social ills. It takes the viewpoint that society will never be drug-free, and that the best approach to drug issues is to tackle those that cause crime and other harmful effects.
Harm reduction draws on many disciplines, but measures outcomes in terms not of drug use itself, but of related "harms" such as disease, death, and crime. In this model, resources and energy are directed toward those drugs that cause comparatively greater harm, while some others (such as marijuana) receive less attention.
Harm-reduction-based programs may include needle exchanges, food and hygiene services, treatment based on individual dignity, and substance abuse clinics offering factual, science-based drug education both for addicts and for young people who may come into contact with drugs.