Intoxication and Harm Reduction

Barton, Adrian (2020) Intoxication and Harm Reduction. In: Cultures of Intoxication: Key Issues and Debates. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 311-333. ISBN 978-3-030-35283-7

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This chapter revolves around the premise that drinking alcohol or taking drugs (from here in referred to simply as substance use) is generally a pleasurable activity that most people do throughout their lives without sustaining much in the way of personal harm, inflicting harm on those around them or harming society at large. However, it also recognises that any form of intoxication potentially carries with it harms and costs, and that in some cases harms and costs are directly attributable to substance use. ‘Dealing with’ the negatives of intoxication, especially in a policy sense, often needs state interventions. Accordingly, this requires political decisions around which aspects of substance use the state needs to focus on , how and by whom intoxication is measured and defined, who is best placed to address and reduce harms and costs related to intoxication, and how this can be achieved. As such, policy-based reaction to intoxication and substance use is as much about politics as it is about legal, scientific, therapeutic or medical interventions (Barton and Johns 2013). For policy change to be effected, happen politicians need to be aware of scientific and medical advances, although this evidence base is often but often weighed against or alongside these with changes in public attitude. It would appear in recent decades, that there is or has been this is happening at the moment as, globally, there is some movement away from the strict prohibitionist approach towards illicit drug use. Rigid, abstinence based approaches to substance use, are is being gradually eroded, in some contexts. More nuanced models which recognises the potential and actual harms of substance use, but equally recognises that intoxication is an embedded and pleasurable part of life for many people are being adopted. These approaches are referred to generically as ‘harm reduction’.

Item Type: Book Section
Depositing User: Ms Raisa Burton
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2024 09:55
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2024 09:55
Related URLs: https://www.pal ... k/9783030352837 (Publisher URL)

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