Doctors, nurses and mental health professionals are witness to the health harms associated with participating in risky behaviors, whether smoking, drug use, lack of exercise or unprotected sex. Health providers have a role in counseling patients about the potential risks associated with behaviors. Depending on their specialty, health providers will often address these harms through the lens of prevention or treatment. Under both paradigms, encouraging abstinence or cessation of the risky behavior might be the first recommendation. However, for the people who cannot or do not want to stop engaging in a risky behavior, harm reduction strategies provide an option for improving health outcomes.

This panel will educate providers about the benefits of harm reduction; give examples of how they can engage in harm reduction with their patients; and address some of the misconceptions and hesitations about harm reduction. Additionally, the panel will show how thinking from a harm reduction perspective can be applied to almost any activity that involves health risks.


Featured Publications