Harm reduction: A social work practice model and social justice agenda
Abstract: Efforts in the United States to eradicate drug use through supply reduction (that is, the War on Drugs) have increasingly violated the principles of social justice and human rights, both locally and globally. This has created ethical conflicts for social workers in policy making, practice, and research. Harm reduction has been conceptualized as a peace movement and is aligned with the humanistic values around which social work is organized. The authors examine how social workers may reduce the ethical conflicts associated with efforts to address substance abuse by adopting a harm reduction approach to policy, practice, and research. They examine current drug policies, the consequences of the policies, and, in particular, how the policies affect social workers as practitioners, agents of social control, and guardians of social justice.
Brocato, J., & Wagner, E.F. (2003). Harm reduction: A social work practice model and social justice agenda. Health & Social Work, 28(2), 117-125. doi:10.1093/hsw/28.2.117