Drugs and addiction: a harm reduction approach

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Pamonphon Phummai, a high school student at the Mahidol University International Demonstration School (MUIDS) in Thailand.  He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In today’s society, drug use and addiction have become one of the most persistently contentious issues. Yet, people in our society continue looking for promising and feasible solutions to mitigate the hindrances drugs provide. Not only have grown-ups been made subject to the constraints on drugs and addiction, but even juveniles have been made subject to these hurdles. It is unequivocal that there are a plethora of potential upsides to the use of drugs. Sometimes, using drugs positively affects society; recognizing this might enhance rehabilitation efforts. Nevertheless, taking an excessive amount of drugs might put users in jeopardy.

Before adopting a harm reduction strategy for drug addiction, it is crucial to comprehend the factors that may bring about drug addiction among users, including genetics, environment, surroundings, medical history, and even age, that might contribute to someone developing a dependency on drugs. [1] As a consequence, drug addiction may pose a threat to a person’s life in a multitude of ways; some of these ways include having seizures, having a stroke, being mentally confused, or having brain damage.[2]

In addition, there are occasions when people take prescription pharmaceuticals in ways that aren’t prescribed to them, such as for recreational purposes, because of the drug’s effects; as a result, they can develop an addiction to the drug. Therefore, to rehabilitate, those who take these medications need the aid of experts specializing in addiction. [3]

To begin with, medical professionals have a responsibility to respect the rights of their patients to receive treatments. This can be accomplished by investigating the histories and experiences of their patients, in addition to attending to the immediate medical requirements of patients dependent on drugs (e.g., counseling and other behavioral therapies). Moreover, using non-stigmatized language with patients and furnishing even knowledge about drugs in terms of their positive and adverse effects on patients. It is possible to demonstrate that doctors respect their patients, and patients would have a greater understanding of drugs. [4]

Besides, medical professionals may evaluate the patient for and treat co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, depending on the specifics of the patient’s situation. [5] This is because the patient’s mental and spiritual wellbeing, in addition to their physical health, are all crucial aspects that should be taken into account.

In conclusion, those who are addicted to drugs need to be treated the same as other patients and should get therapy. Since it is essential to make other people in society see that drug addicts should regain their everyday life after their treatments, having a normal life and being accepted by society could be the best solution for everyone to live peacefully. Because everyone is a human, there was a time when everyone picked the incorrect way of life; even though the individual has only a one percent chance of surviving the mortality, this does not indicate that they are unable to live even if the likelihood is one percent. 


[1] Tyler, M. (2016, August 25). Risk factors for addiction. Healthline. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/risk-factors

[2] The physical & mental effects of drug abuse. Gateway Foundation. (2021, December 3). Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://www.gatewayfoundation.org/about-gateway-foundation/faqs/effects-of-drug-abuse/

[3] Prescriptions drugs. La Hacienda. (2022, March 7). Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://www.lahacienda.com/prescriptions-drugs

[4] Brandon Yau, MD, Emily Sollows, BN, RNC, MN, Sara Young, MA, MHA(c), Jane A. Buxton, MBBS, MHSC, FRCPC. the physician’s role in harm reduction. BCMJ, vol. 60, no. 8, October, 2018, page(s) 404-405 – BCCDC. -. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://bcmj.org/bccdc/physicians-role-harm-reduction

[5] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, March 26). Treatment approaches for drug addiction drugfacts. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction

About the author

Mr. Pamonphon Phummai is a high school student at the Mahidol University International Demonstration School (MUIDS) in Thailand.  He intends to bring about alterations in the medical sectors and is adamant about enrolling in a medical school in the future. Since he perceives that in today’s modern society, everyone is equal, and everyone ought to have the right to obtain treatments. Thus, he writes this article since drugs and addiction is one of the most pressing problems in today’s society, and he believes that everyone who struggles with these hindrances ought to have the opportunity to get treatments and education.

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