Simply put, harm reduction aims to reduce the negative consequences of problematic drug use. Its primary focus is not on preventing or eliminating drug use. It is an approach that finds its basis in public health and human rights principles.
"Harm reduction complements approaches that seek to prevent or reduce the overall level of drug consumption. It is based on the recognition that many people throughout the world continue to use psychoactive drugs despite even the strongest efforts to prevent the initiation or continued use of drugs. Harm reduction accepts that many people who use drugs are unable or unwilling to stop using drugs at any given time. Access to good treatment is important for people with drug problems, but many people with drug problems are unable or unwilling to get treatment." - Harm Reduction International
Harm reduction programs and practices have time and again proven themselves to be not only effective from a patient outcome standpoint but also very cost effective. Examples of harm reduction practices are broad and range from larger campaigns to small everyday efforts that we take for granted. Some examples include: