Full Spectrum Harm Reduction incorporates all of the people who use drugs, and all of the methods with which they use them, as well as all of the political, social, and environmental contexts surrounding this. It aims to include and account for the diversity of factors at play when we consider all forms of drug use and all of the people who use drugs globally.
This concept was born when we began to reconsider traditional harm reduction to better incorporate younger generations. Harm Reduction traditionally comes from the Global North and focuses mostly on injecting drug use and opiate use, as well as sexual and reproductive health. This focus leads to the exclusion of a sizable proportion of the people who use drugs globally, including non-injecting drug use, and people who use drugs from the Global South, who face a far greater diversity of issues, which can often be as severe as being the victim of extra-judicial killing in many countries.
The main guiding principles of Full Spectrum Harm Reduction remain the same as traditional Harm Reduction models. The aim is to keep people who use drugs safe and to minimize the harm associated with drug use. By incorporating a wider number of forms of drug use and a wider number of factors associated with drug use, we hope to further reduce stigma, discrimination, and inhumane situations people who use drugs find themselves in.
YouthRISE believes that it is vital for us to talk openly and honestly, without stigmatization, about Full Spectrum Harm Reduction. Only when we do this can we fully begin to achieve the goal of reducing harm.