What is harm reduction?
The ‘Harm Reduction International’ organisation defines harm reduction as “policies, programmes, and practices that aim primarily to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of the use of legal and illegal psychoactive drugs without necessarily reducing drug consumption”. So in short, these are measures to help people who use drugs to reduce the chances of possible harms as a result of drug use.
What can I do to reduce risks?
Consumption of drugs always brings certain risks, especially in the case of untested and unresearched NPS. But there are things you can do to reduce the chances of having unwanted consequences of your NPS use. Below, some important points are listed. More useful tips can be found on the website of American harm reduction organisation ‘DanceSafe’ or the Flemish Peer support project Safe ‘n Sound.
In general, it is important to be prepared:
– Know what you consume (and how much)
– Don’t be alone and take care of others
– Know what to do in case of feeling unwell, and where to find help in case of emergencies
You cannot be legally punished for having consumed drugs, or for getting help for someone who has problems after consuming drugs. Therefore, never hesitate to seek (medical) help in case of emergencies!