Remember SMART Recovery Australia’s good friends over at the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre? Well, they’re participating in this year’s Global Day of Action for Support, Don’t Punish, a global grassroots harm reduction movement. Like SMART Recovery Australia, this supports drug policies that prioritise health over criminalisation, placing people at the centre of any discussion.
SDP aims to put harm reduction firmly in the political conversation. This involves strengthening the mobilisation capacity of affected communities and their allies, opening dialogue with gatekeepers & lawmakers, and raising awareness both in the media and among the general public.
In fact, Support, Don’t Punish traces its origins to 2012, in response to the UN’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Historically, this tends to read as governments celebrating big wins against trafficking, such as mass seizures or convictions, but a harm reduction focus (like that of SMART Recovery) would reclaim & reframe this narrative around human rights.
SRAU’s evidence led approach embraces harm reduction principles as part of our program. We know from the hundreds of Australians who have taken back control of their problem behaviours that a person-centred approach to addiction recovery quite simply works. In any SMART meeting, you will encounter people who have chosen abstinence as their own method of harm minimisation, while others aim for moderate consumption of their drug of choice. For a program like ours, where we deal with problem behaviours around eating and sex, total abstinence isn’t just unlikely. It’s impossible. We’re happy to support those for whom abstinence is the right choice, but ultimately, like Support, Don’t Punish and the MSIC, the most important thing is the person with the behaviour, not the behaviour or the substance.