Psychoactive Substance and Mental Health 

Table of Contents



The Harm minimization effect on Public Health

The Harm minimization effect on Social behavior

The harm minimization effect on economic behavior



Introduction to Harm Minimization

The term “Harm minimization” is defined as all the policies and the initiatives which have implemented to reduce the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol. Harm Minimization reduces all the negative effects of the human body which occurs from drugs and alcohol. It recognizes all the health behavior, social and economic implications for both the people and the whole society. The Australian government has established the Nation Campaign of Drug Abuse in the year 1985. The harm minimization is addressed as a useful standpoint for the illicit drug users. The drug users share their syringes more than one or two times.

This is the reason they suffer from many harmful diseases for exchanging the needles. Opioid Addiction Treatment is used for illicit drug users. This is a medical method to replace the harmful opioid like heroin with the less euphoric and quick functioning opioid. The harm minimization method is depending on the range of the harms that are related to the forms of AOD usage. The usage of the AOD depends on the three factors that are individuals, economic, cultural environment. From the literature revue, we come to know that Australia has achieved success in regards to harm minimization among its population (Hunt,Albert & Sánchez 2010).


The Harm Minimization Effect on Public Health

The harm minimization is considered as a public health technique and this is applicable for the drug users who think abstinence is not possible. The harm minimization is very effective to reduce the morbidity. It can be described as a technique that is used to reduce the possible harms related to certain behavior in society. This technique recognizes that continuous usage of the licit and illicit drugs can lead the individuals to the adverse negative effects. This is an alternative way to resolve the problems that are associated with drug usage. The utilization of the methadone treatment helps to reduce mortality. The needle exchange programs and the methadone campaign have an effective impact on the social and economic-medical health (Duff, 2005).

1. The needle exchange programs in Australia

The usage of the illicit drugs includes the hypodermic syringes. In Australia, these syringes are available based on the prescriptions only. But many heroin users use the same syringes by exchanging this where availability is not sufficient. Sometimes the drug users exchange their needles more than two or three times. It can cause many harmful diseases like HIV, Hepatitis C. These diseases can be spread from one user to another to exchange one syringe and the blood can be infected. The main focus of harm minimization is to reduce the usage of the same needles and improve the health of drug users.

In Australia, the needle exchange programs and the other HIV prevention campaigns quickly covered and eventually reached all the participating states like Melbourne, Perth, Queensland. The experts say that the possibilities of HIV are less in Australia rather than in other countries as this country are developing its national drug strategies for the IDUs (drug users). The Australian clinicians research on that epidemic infected areas and take the responsibilities to inject the lower prevalence HIV syringes among the survivors (Fisher et. Al.,2018).

2. The methadone campaign in Australia

The main purpose of the methadone campaign is to increase public awareness about drug abuse and encourage the IDUs for appropriate treatment. The Australian researchers say that the maintenance of the methadone campaign has reduced all the negative harms from the opioid users. From the research of IDUs, we can see that the Australian physicians use less risk injections and maintain all the hygiene during the methadone treatment so that it cannot spread this epidemic among the non-treatment people. From the observation of this treatment, the physicians and the researchers say that this treatment has many advantages like it helps to reduce the crimes, the injection-related trouble, the usage of heroin, and premature mortality.

("What is Harm Reduction? | Harm Reduction Australia", 2020)

The Harm Minimization Effect on Social Behavior

In many areas in the communities, the cocaine drug users are involved with the crimes and they arrest by the police. The illegal supplies of cocaine should be reduced so that that people cannot buy those drugs. The harm minimization strategies have been implemented with the help of down-to-earth ideas. These strategies are mainly focused on those people among the communities to aware about the harm minimization. From the existing social science, we come to know that “Social Capital” is commonly used terms that can reduce the harms among the communities. There are two types of social capital:-1. Physical capital 2. Human capital. Physical capital increases the production of the economy. On the other hand, human capital helps people to increase the knowledge and the capabilities for employment (Midford,2018).

Legal change is another major factor to provide a safe social environment. Without the legal norms, it is very difficult to reduce the harms among the drug users. The harm minimization can happen within two frameworks:-The first one is prohibition and the second one is regulation. In Australia, the legal rules and regulations are very strict and this is the reason to provide a safe social environment ("Department of Health | 6.1 Harm minimisation – what is it?", 2020).

The harm minimization technique is also able to establish social rights among the communities. The harm minimization technique has been implemented with some strategies for safety and these ideas have been implemented among the drug users. The researchers say that social isolation and inequalities, poverty, crimes, illegal activities, past depression are the fundamental reasons for those survivors who are taking drugs on a regular basis. The harm minimization process is able to provide a hygienic environment. The influencing of the drugs is a major problem to do crimes among society.

The drug abuse and the crimes are related to each other. The Australian researchers say that social awareness campaigns can reduce all the crimes and also can improve health. This awareness campaign can decrease the usage of cocaine and heroin. Sometimes poverty and financial conditions are forces some people to do the crimes. That’s why the increment of employment among the communities has also added into this drug treatment campaign (Hing,,2017).

The Harm Minimization Effect on Economic Behavior 

The behavioral economic theory has been implemented three strategies within the drug-abuse campaign. These three strategies include:-1. Adopting the practices to the limited supply of drugs, 2. Increase the practices of non-drug replaceable activities, and 3.Increase the recovery treatment strategies to prevent the negative side effects of the drug abusers. As per the behavioral economic theory, the behavior changes of the survivors have been reviewed to improve their heaths.

The economical behavior affect the harm minimization in Australia are the following:-

1. Increase the public safety:- The drug affected accidents have been reduced from recent years and the awareness for the safe environment has increased.

2. Decrease the heath care cost:- As we know that the treatment cost of drug users, the HIV and the Hepatitis patients in some hospitals are very expensive. The Australian Government looks into this matter and try to reduce the methadone treatment cost.

3. Increase the productivity:- As we know that the usage of drugs effectively is a huge loss of productivity. In Australia, the productivity has been increased with the help of a harm reduction technique.

4. High-income population:- As we know that drug abuse and poverty are connected with each other in the society. Drug abuse can reduce the family income of the users. It can force them to avoid all the responsibilities. Sometimes the poverty can force the drug users to do the crimes and illegal activities. Australians have arranged an educational training campaign to make awareness among the communities and this also helps the people to gain knowledge and skills for employment or education.

5. The impact on the governance:- The countries where the government is not strong, the economy goes down day-by-day. Weak government is not able for the development of their country. The Australian government is very strict in the case of drug abuse. That’s why all the citizens in this country have trust in the government. The citizens who live in the drug affected communities are very aware of the safety.

Conclusion on Harm Minimization

After studying the literature review of the harm minimization, it can be said that there are still needed some improvements to fulfill all the gaps. A restriction should be needed in some areas to control the usage of drugs. More attention should be required to the pharmaceuticals and medical education is needed about the negative effects of drugs. We also come to know from the circumstantial proofs that in some areas in Australia the harm-minimization campaign did not get success about spreading this epidemic. But according to the National Campaign of Drug Abuse report, this country has got a huge success rather than other countries to prevent HIV and Hepatitis c with the use of low prevalence syringe and methadone treatment. As we know Australia is considered a clever country all over the world, so we can expect this country should able to prevent the adverse effects among the opioid users.

References for Harm Minimization

Department of Health | 6.1 Harm minimisation – what is it?. (2020). Retrieved 5 May 2020, from

Duff, C. (2005). Party drugs and party people: Examining the ‘normalization’of recreational drug use in Melbourne, Australia. International journal of drug policy, 16(3), 161-170.

Fisher, K. A., Cahill, L. M., Broyles, S., Rorke, M., & Robinson, W. T. (2018). Knowledge of hepatitis C status moderates the relationship between history of drug treatment and sterile syringe use. PloS one, 13(4).

Hing, N., Sproston, K., Brook, K., & Brading, R. (2017). The structural features of sports and race betting inducements: Issues for harm minimisation and consumer protection. Journal of Gambling Studies, 33(2), 685-704.

Hunt, N., Albert, E., & Sánchez, V. M. (2010). User involvement and user organising in harm reduction. Monographs, 333.

Marshall, S. J. (2018). Internal and external stakeholders in higher education. In Shaping the University of the Future (pp. 77-102). Springer, Singapore.

Midford, R., Lester, L., Williams, T., & White, V. (2018). The relationship between Australian harm minimisation alcohol education and student uptake, consumption and harm. International Journal of Drug Policy, 52, 25-31.

Russell, J., Pferdehirt, W., & Nelson, J. (2018). Team Formation, Team Management, and Project Leadership. Technical Project Management in Living and Geometric Order.

What is Harm Reduction? | Harm Reduction Australia. (2020). Retrieved 5 May 2020, from

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