Harm Reduction - arguments against

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Eoghan, Aug 12, 2010.

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  1. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    I thought i had posted on this last month but a search did not show it. What are the arguments against the line that everybody is doing it and we just need to help them do it safetly!

    The ones I am coming up with are the sports team psychology Scotland is bound to lose at Rugby so better to prepare for defeat than anticipate victory. No self respecting sports psychologist would go along with this!

    Many people will take drugs but we should not make those who do not feel they are "odd". The majority are not always wise or sensible and as Chjristians our standards will almost innevitably put us at odds with the society we live in. We should therefore be appealing not to Divine standards not those of the world.

    What other arguments do you have?
  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I am all for condom distribution as a harm reduction measure for AIDs, even while better education and evangelization are more effective to cure the root causes of this disease.

    I think harm reduction measures for drug use might be warranted as well....
  3. Staphlobob

    Staphlobob Puritan Board Sophomore

    "If you've done $1000 worth of drugs last week, and only $800 this week, then that's harm reduction."

    As a Christian drug counselor, I find harm reduction to be cruel, heartless and, most of all, defeatist. I would not recommend it.
  4. EricP

    EricP Puritan Board Freshman

    I am no sociologist, but a few ideas come to mind (and of course, these are ideas from a secular perspective: I think Scripture is clear on "sin is sin" and repentance and turning away are needed not "just do it on the weekend"). In my experience these discussions almost always involve questionable or improper behavior--few seem interested in making credible arguments that motorcycle helmets don't save lives and that we should take all the safety gear off mechanical equipment and power tools--hence "needle park", condoms, vaccination for HPV, etc.
    More often than not those making the "everyone's doing it anyway" argument are making generalizations from sampling error: not "everyone" is doing any questionable behavior (e.g. the canard that every school age child is behaving in a sexually promiscuous manner), just "a bunch of people I'm thinking about now" are. Improper or incomplete sampling is a poor basis for any public policy, though it does well in news papers and for election efforts since it often targets groups of people for whom there is public sympathy for other reasons (poor, "disadvantaged", etc).
    Such arguments intentionally beg the "right or wrong" question, the answer of which needn't be theologically based: that is, if the question is not about condoms but instead violent crime ("everyone's doing it...") most wouldn't argue that maybe a mugging or robbery every 2 weeks is much better than once weekly, so let's make that permissible. And they also, at their foundation, assume that improper behavior can't (and often "shouldn't") be changed--in fact, the tacet notion behind the argument itself is that the behavior really is alright, but at this point too controversial to encourage openly. Thus, such "lessen harm/do it less" arguments often end up promoting or increasing the behavior involved (for example, the push for "health education" in US schools over the past few decades), which for some is the whole point.
  5. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    not only swimming against the tide of their peer group but the establishment as well

    I am fundamentally opposed to the underlying assumption of "harm reduction". I had to go down to the hall with a class who were listening to a drugs education talk.

    One of the points made was that the teachers present had not undergone drugs education. I felt like jumping up and saying yes - AND I DIDN'T NEED IT!

    The other maxim put out is that if you don't know about something it makes you ignorant and ignorance breeds fear. This was in the context of parents. The maxim which I cannot quite recall was in three parts and recited as a maxim to be accepted and believed. There are some things we should be aware of AND ignorant of. I do not believe it is not necessary to know the details of every drug. They are bad, habit forming and alter perception.

    The assumptions of everybody doing it just serve to undermine the resolve of those who have decided to be different from their peer group and now find themselves having to be different from the establishment too!
  6. EricP

    EricP Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe that the sad truth about such classes (and the same goes for things like seeing photographs of damaged lungs in anti-smoking courses) is that they don't work--yet they are very easy to rationalize and promote without critical thinking ("how can you be against learning how dangerous drugs are?"). And I would definitely agree using a different truism: "ignorance is bliss" seems generally far more true than "ignorance breeds fear". My mother has Alzheimer dementia and a recurrence of cancer of which she's happily ignorant; trying to make her otherwise would be cruel.
    And by the way, as one who appears interested in creationist genetics and biblical creation, you should get used to being different from most establishments!!
  7. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Auto insurance never made anyone a better driver. It might actually make a person not care and be a worse driver because they believe someone else will pay for their damage. This is a different example, but similar application.
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    One example of harm reduction:

    Usually homeless shelters have strict no alcohol policies and intoxicated folks cannot sleep there. In cases of cold winters, a harm reduction method would be to allow these as well to lodge at certain facilities during these cold spells. While this appears, like all harm reduction methods, to "give in" to bad behavior, it produces safer environments.

    Also, for Third World prostitution centers, before long term steps can be taken to close them down and train the prostitutes and find them alternate methods of self-support, free condom distributions save lives.

    While long term strategies must be implemented for supply reduction and treatment and a change in behaviors, it is sometimes wise to initiate short-term harm reducation methods until the results of longer-term strategies can take effect.
  9. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Senior

    I think part of the problem is that "harm reduction" is a short term partial answer. In practice politicians and educators seem to think it is THE only solution. This is tha case on most moral issues as christians understand them, prostitution, drugs and teenage pregnancy. There is no other part of the program - ethical choice, just say no or abstinence just don't figure.

    Yet take the case of obesity and smoking - anyone smoking is castigated, ostracised and constantly nagged to give up on state sponsored programs of cessation. Likewise with obesity issues - doctors in the UK can refuse to operate if the patient is over weight!

    Society seems to give us permission to be critical of smoking and obesity but turns a blind eye to everything else.
  10. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't have much experience in this but still, the idea of harm reduction through condoms doesn't sit well. Can we show other examples where we are called to facilitate sin in order to achieve a better outcome? It just doesn't fly, In my humble opinion.
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