Harm reduction across addictions: Recent results and future directions
While the introduction of substitution treatment has led to substantial improvements for many individuals with heroin addiction, no such harm reduction strategies in the fields of alcohol and nicotine dependence has had similar success. However, a series of recent analyses suggest that alcohol dependent individuals can reduce their drinking substantially and that this improves mental and somatic functions over time. In nicotine dependence e-cigarettes are claimed to have positive consequences in terms of harm reduction for smokers. However, it is controversial to what extent e-cigarettes draw young people into smoking.
This symposium will offer a critical appraisal of the new evidence based data. We shall consider commonalities and differences between harm reduction analyses across substances - drugs, alcohol and tobacco. We also need to decide on the acceptability and worth of partial gains - are these valuable gains, or distractions of minimal value?