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“Harm Reduction Works,” Says Health Unit

With Canadians all over-relying on legal and illegal drugs to de-stress or reduce pain, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has released a video titled “Harm Reduction Works.”

According to the health unit, many people use substances to get through the day, whether those are coffee, Tylenol, or a drink at the end of the day. The video explains that even if a substance is legal like tobacco, alcohol, or prescription meds it is still substance use. It goes on to explain that a harm reduction is a tool that helps people addicted to substances, and it also can save lives.

Despite the public perception of harm reduction programs like needle exchanges and naloxone kits promote drug use, the health unit’s video refutes that claim by saying that programs like that protect people. The health unit says that with more access to harm reduction, there are more opportunities for people to help, and get help.

Another public misconception tackled in the video is the idea that harm reduction is a costly alternative while caring for addicts. The video takes this on by highlighting that providing someone with clean needles for a year costs about $100, whereas a liver transplant for someone who had complications from Hepatitis C costs the taxpayer roughly $120,000. As well, HIV treatment costs $250,000 per person.

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Another cost-savings with harm reduction comes from the reduction in ER visits, and hospital stays. The health unit believes that jail is not the answer for addiction, citing that it costs an average of $116,000 a year to incarcerate someone.

Another concern with prison as the solution to drug use is that inmates are 10 times more likely to have HIV, and 20 times higher for Hep C.

You can watch the video on YouTube.

Written by Phil McCabe

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