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| Hans-Günter Meyer-Thompson | International

USA. “Horrible”—Harm Reduction Legend Discusses the Methadone System

USA. “Horrible”—Harm Reduction Legend Discusses the Methadone System

I first heard Edith Springer speak at the 2004 Harm Reduction Coalition conference in New Orleans. She was explaining how the harm reduction model can help people experiencing addiction.

She told us that drug use was not “abuse,” that social determinants of drug use were vital to understand; that people are capable of great change; and that we must stop blaming and shaming people who use drugs.


Her story is all too familiar; she went to a clinic expecting help, and was punished instead. She was kicked out of numerous programs for “dirty” urine and other rule infractions. She tried, to no avail, to change the culture of cruelty. Now she is in favor of closing clinics, and integrating methadone prescribing into mainstream health care. (Filter, USA, 04.06.2024)