HOW DOES IT HARM THEE…
Recently I attended an inservice on harm reduction. If you are not familiar with this philosophy, it means changing behavior in a healthier direction without demanding abstinence from the harmful behavior.
Needle exchange programs are one easy to understand example. Injection drug addicts who are not willing/able to quit may be perfectly willing to use clean needles if they are available. By making a small change in their behavior (not sharing needles) you have reduced their chances of contracting HIV.
The benefit to the drug user is clear. Abstaining from drug use would be better, but at least you are reducing the harm they are doing. There’s a big public health benefit too. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to care for one AIDS patient over the duration of their life. And an uninfected junkie is a junkie who will not pass the virus on to sexual partners or other drug users.
The instructor at the inservice showed us this astonishing slide, demonstrating the many ways we kill ourselves:
Note that the deadliest behaviors are the legal ones. The circumspect “microbial agents” includes AIDS. It causes less than a quarter as many deaths as tobacco does.
You can practice harm reduction for yourself. If you can’t quit smoking, cut down your intake. If you just HAVE to have ice cream, get a single scoop.
Thankfully, caffeine is not on the chart.