Harmonizing Harm Reduction and Law Enforcement: Strategies for Prevention, Monitoring, and Response
Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - Foundation of Delaware
Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, Inc.
Corey S. Davis
Network for Public Health Law
February 7, 2008
The mounting public costs and human toll associated with drug abuse and mental illness mandate a focused effort to identify evidence-based, sustainable, and cost-effective solutions. In this effort, public health practitioners and members of the law enforcement community can no longer afford to act alone. Taking the singular vision of safe and healthy communities as a point of departure, these groups are increasingly working to align activities, forge communication, and pool expertise, creating a synergistic impact that leads to better results and smarter use of resources.
The role of law enforcement in the implementation of HIV-prevention efforts is a key arena in this growing collaboration. The project presented here was designed as an up-stream intervention to accompany the launch of the pilot needle exchange program (NEP) in Wilmington, DE. Our goal was to preempt misinformation, distrust, and conflict between NEP staff and clientele on the one hand and the local police department on the other. The resulting program offers a modular toolkit for harm reduction programs and law enforcement organizations across the U.S., with possible application to international settings.
This report presents a strategic prevention, monitoring, and response (PMR) approach for public health-law enforcement collaboration in the implementation of a harm reduction initiative. This program includes forging institutional communication,providing law enforcement training, and establishment of several negative feedback mechanisms that help check problems before they develop into dangerous patterns.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: law enforcement, training, harm reduction, needle exchangeworking papers series
Date posted: February 7, 2009 ; Last revised: March 12, 2012
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