The treatment proposed by Tim Lahey is part of a larger family of clinical approaches that could help reshape the landscape for many of our health care challenges.

Harm reduction is an approach to addressing problems that encompasses elements of pragmatism and compassion in settings where high-risk behaviors will inevitably occur. Examples includes needle exchange for intravenous drug users; Truvada for people who cannot abstain from high-risk sex; methadone or suboxone for opiate abusers; and e-cigarettes for smokers.

Harm-reduction treatments save lives and lower health care costs. More important, they allow the treatment community to engage patients in addressing their risky behavior.

Image by David Smart

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