Is Harm Reduction the Answer to Canada’s Drug Addiction Problem?

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Is Harm Reduction the Answer to Canada’s Drug Addiction Problem?

Drug and substance abuse is a problem that since time immemorial continues to affect billions of people, families, and communities across the world. Apart from the health risks posed to individuals, drug abuse has dire socio-economic effects as it has huge financial and social burdens on the society. Many families are destroyed, economies ruined while communities are persecuted. Drug abuse also jeopardises the safety of the entire society and poses unwarranted demands on the education system, the law and the social service system and Canada is no exception to this problem. According to the Canadian Centre on Drug Abuse, the Canadian government spends up to 14 million dollar every year on rehabilitation and treatment programmes (2). The cost of the problem is estimated to amount to about 1,267 dollars per individual in Canada in terms of heath provision, law enforcement and loss of productivity, without including personal costs. This paper will address the harm reduction approach to addressing the problem of drug addiction in Canada.

Drug Abuse and Addiction

According to Drug and Substance Abuse in Canada, drug abuse is common among the youths and young adults and more so among the aborigines, commercial sex workers, the homeless (Single et al. 6). Addiction may be defined as the chronic use of drugs alongside the problems resulting from their use. Despite the person being aware of the consequences of using the drug, he continues to use it. If not attended to, addiction may cause serious social problems and even death (Hanson et al. 36).

In order to address drug addiction, it is vital to understand addiction itself and where it stems from. Drug use and abuse is...

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...ian Centre on Substance Abuse, 2009. Print.

Hallam, Christopher. “Briefing Paper Heroin-assisted Treatment: The State of Play.” Idpc.net. Idcp.net, n.d. Web. 4 Jul. 2010.

Hanson, Glen R., et al. Drugs and Society. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011. Print.

Kelly, Partick. "The Drinks are on us at the Homeless Shelter: Served Every 90 Minutes: Managed Alcohol Program Reduces Drinking." National Post 7 2006. 1 Jan. 2006: Print.

Lintzeris, Nicholas. "Prescription of Heroin for the Management of Heroin Dependence: Current Status". CNS Drugs 23.6 (2009): 463–76. Print.

Marlatt, Alan G. Harm Reduction: Pragmatic Strategies for Managing High-Risk Behaviours. New York, NY: Guilford Press, 2002. Print.

Single Eric et al. The costs of substance abuse in Canada: A Cost Estimation Study. : Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 1996. Print.

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