A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Harm reduction is not harmlessness

Every religion or faith has a moral code, usually in a list of actions, we are to abstain from. Today there are many of all religions who want these codes of conduct updated. That what was acceptable 2000 is too restrictive today. In some countries you see and hear citizens demanding the right to kill another human being if they are defending themselves in their home, or place of business. They want to change from the laws and moral values reasonable force to lethal force, in the name of preventing the perpetrator from repeating their actions. Nations talk of surgical strikes against other nations, in the name of preventing terrorism. There are many people who promote the consumption of illegal substances that are harmful, physically and mentally. For some it is greed, from the enormous profits involved. Others have made an industry out of harm reduction, where addicts are maintained at controlled levels, with medical help available to resuscitate them for the twentieth or more time. Many of these programs do not strongly advocate the second phase, that of treatment to eliminate the addiction. Instead leaving it to the addict, to ask for help. We of course need to respect the free will of those whose lives are affected by addiction, in regards to treatment. However for the benefit of  their health, we need to promote the option of addiction counselling. The final part is to make the penalties for dealing of these substances, strong enough to discourage dealers. This would also slow down the number of new addicts. If an addict is dealing to support their addiction, then instead of jail time, confinement to a lengthy treatment program that deals with whole life treatment, not just detoxification and release. Rather counselling to determine the root causes of these self destructive behaviours. Getting a person healthy enough to survie another several months of poisoning themselves is not being harmless, it is enabling them to continue the self inflicted poisoning.

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