Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price
Add to Cart Paperback10 pages Free

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.