This article discusses three different strategies for dealing with the harmful consequences of drug use and other risky behaviors: People can be discouraged from engaging in the behavior (prevalence reduction), people can be encouraged to reduce the frequency or extent of the behavior (quantity reduction), or the harmful consequences of the behavior can be reduced (harm reduction). These strategies are not mutually exclusive; this article offers a framework for integrating them. The framework is useful for examining frequent claims that harm reduction "sends the wrong message." Opposition to harm reduction is based in part on a recognition of potential trade-offs among the strategies, but it is also fueled by several more symbolic psychological factors. Strategies for successfully integrating prevalence reduction, quantity reduction, and harm reduction are explored.
Originally published in: American Psychologist, v. 53, no. 11, November 1998, pp. 1199-1208.
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