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First of All: What is Harm Reduction?

Decades of associating the term “harm reduction” with injection drug use often leaves adults and educators baffled about how the concept is applied in a classroom setting. 

Consider comprehensive sex ed as an example. We know that by speaking openly and honestly with youth about sex -- and the associated risks -- early on, we can reduce the occurrence of infectious diseases, stigma, teen pregnancy and even adolescent sexual activity. 

So why aren’t we using the same approach with drug education?

Harm reduction recognizes that total, life long abstinence among all people at all times is simply an unattainable goal. Reality-based education is key, and preparing young people to keep themselves and others safe is critical as they inevitably encounter more drugs as they progress into adulthood.

This episode explores the impact of Just Say No philosophies and the War on Drugs on the way we understand - or don’t - drugs. Learn harm reduction strategies that every teen and adult should know, even if they don’t use drugs.

About the Web Series

Hosted by Sasha Simon, Safety First Senior Program Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, First of All aims to clear away all the junk science and stigma related to substance use, putting science, dignity and respect first. In this series, Simon brings key components of a harm reduction-approach to drug education to life online so viewers can discover innovative ways to learn about drugs that could save their lives or those of the people they love. 

Watch more First of All episodes.

Harm Reduction
Real Drug Education
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