Harm reduction is not the preserve of one community
September is a glorious opportunity to celebrate recovery month and we’re delighted to hear about the activities taking place all over the country. The Recovery Games in Doncaster (page 16) sums up the spirit of events and we’re looking forward to following what’s happening around the country.
But as we do so, let’s remember our common purpose. Harm reduction is not the preserve of one community – it’s all of our business and should be central to everything we do, whatever the drug and whatever the treatment preference. Nick Wilson’s piece (cover story, page 6) is a reminder that activism is essential, and that includes the kind of community engagement that makes recovery messages so visible and effective. The ‘culture of acceptance and engagement’ should be the unifying force that propels harm reduction to the heart of mainstream healthcare and policy. We have plenty of evidence for this, right down to the depressing year-on-year increase in drug-related deaths.
The evidence is particularly clear when looking at custody- community transitions (page 14) – an area where small changes in practice could make a vast difference to prisoners’ chances of success. As Alex Stevens points out, there’s much that can be done in the short term for a population ‘so highly vulnerable to health problems’. Meanwhile, in this month’s News Focus (page 8) we look at progress on hepatitis C and find some important messages on data sharing if we are to meet NHS England’s ambitious elimination target of 2025.