HARM REDUCTION

SAIF is here to give you up to date information relating to the use and abuse of alcohol. Join the discussion and see how SAIF wants everyone to make SAFE choices. 

Harm reduction reduces the adverse impacts of alcohol abuse and misuse through policies, programs, and behaviors. It tries to prevent health, social, and economic effects from alcohol addiction, misuse, and risky behavior. It is an evidence-based and pragmatic alternative to requiring complete abstinence from alcohol use and disassociates alcohol use from harm i.e. alcohol does not equal harm. Interventions target social behaviours and choices that lead to alcohol abuse / alcohol misuse having negative and harmful effects on individuals, families and the greater society.

OBJECTIVES OF HARM REDUCTION

  • Harm reduction is a public health approach that seeks to reduce the negative and harmful effects of alcohol abuse and misuse through policies, programmes and practices.

  • To reduce harmful consequences associated with alcohol misuse / abuse rather than alcohol use per se.

  • To provide an alternative to zero-tolerance approaches by incorporating achievable and sustainable drinking goals that are compatible with the needs / wants of the individual while improving public health.

  • To empower and support people to make autonomous positive behavioural changes that reduce their exposure to harm as well as their families and communities.

  • To promote access to services by offering low-threshold alternatives to traditional alcohol prevention and treatment i.e. complete abstinence.

WHY USE HARM REDUCTION

  • Harm reduction recognises the reality that people will and do use alcohol without judgement and stigma.

  • It understands that people can gain health benefits from alcohol use.

  • It prioritises the safety of people that use alcohol and the greater society by promoting alcohol use that does not cause harm to individuals and communities.

  • Harm reduction is grounded in respecting people’s humanity, dignity, autonomy and indiscriminate access to care.

  • Harm reduction considers that behaviours are not cultivated in isolation and environments including social factors can shape the choices and behaviours of individuals. Thus, it targets interventions on the individual-level and beyond i.e. the families, communities, countries to affect holistic change on a societal level.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED AS HARM 

  • Physical injury and violence perpetrated by an individual towards themselves or their families, co-workers, strangers.

  • Road accidents.

  • Social harms (interference with social and financial obligations; encountering significant social, financial, legal, health or interpersonal problems).

WHAT ARE HARM REDUCTION ACTIVITIES

Injury and violence 

Road Accidents

Social Harms

  • Encourage a safe and controlled drinking environment.

  • Promotion of safe support access to individuals and families affected by the harmful use of alcohol (mental health support, domestic violence support, etc.).

  • Educating people on the illicit alcohol industry and informally produced alcohol to reduce the public health impact and promote that people consume safe alcohol.

  • Promoting and supporting drunk driving policies and countermeasures.

  • Promote appropriate support to people who are experiencing the financial, social and / or health harms of alcohol misuse / abuse. 

  • Educational interventions informing people about the negative effects that the misuse of alcohol can have on themselves and the people around them.

  • Have people incorporate other activities alongside responsible drinking within their lifestyle to reduce.

  • Encourage responsible drinking.

  • Support interventions to reduce road accidents including mass media campaigns, designated driver programmes / alternate transportation, interventions targeted towards drunk drivers such as randomized breathalyser tests and sanctions. 

WHAT ARE HARM REDUCTION PRACTICES
  • Drink Responsibly.

  • Giving car keys to someone before you start drinking.

  • Refrain from driving when drinking. 

  • Have a designated driver or use trusted / alternate transportation.

  • Drink in safe and reputable / trusted environments.

  • Alcohol can harm physical and mental development in young people. Delay drinking until 18

  • Abstain from drinking alcohol when you are pregnant, breastfeeding, if it counteracts with your medication, if you are not mentally in a good space.

  • Going out with a friend who can help monitor your behaviour and consumption.

  • Bringing condoms when you go out drinking, even if you are not planning to have sex. You might change your mind and it is important to ensure you have protection in the event that you do.

  • Drink in moderation.

  • Young adults of drinking age are encouraged to adopt lower daily limits.

  • To reduce long-term health risks, never exceed weekly limits. 15 units (Male) and 10 units (Female).

  • To reduce injury and other harms, never exceed daily limits and adjust your drinking according to the setting.

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