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Harm Reduction: A Framework For Evidence-Based Policy And Practice


Barcelona, Spain/Virtual
2nd term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2020 - 2021
Tue 11/17/2020 - Thu 11/19/2020
Class Times:
  • Tu W Th,  8:30am - 6:00pm
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor :
Judith Holzer
Frequency Schedule:
One Year Only

Harm reduction strategies are important components of a comprehensive public health approach to substance use.

Discusses a variety of harm reduction strategies as they pertain to substance use issues. Introduces various programs that address substance use problems from a harm reduction perspective. Describes the evidence base supporting harm reduction programs. Explores the complicated legal and contextual issues associated with implementation of harm reduction programs.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Summarize the principles of harm reduction as a part of a comprehensive public health approach to drug use and abuse
  2. Describe the current context of harm reduction and challenges for the implementation of such programs
  3. Critique various conceptualizations of drug use and abuse (e.g., brain vs. social disease vs. moral failing)
  4. Examine how drug regulation and criminalization (crack vs. cocaine; opioid vs. heroin) contribute to health disparities and how harm reduction approaches can reduce these disparities
  5. Explore the evidence (e.g., efficacy, cost effectiveness) of various harm reduction strategies (e.g., syringe exchange programs, naloxone, safe consumption spaces, medication assisted treatment, fentanyl testing)
  6. Develop and present a range of evidence-based arguments to gain broad support of implementing harm reduction programs
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 10% Reflection
  • 25% Group Work
  • 40% Final Policy Brief
  • 25% Final Presentation

Enrollment Restriction:

undergraduates and interdivisional registration is not permitted for this course

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Full-time BSPH degree-seeking students must obtain permission to register from Judy Holzer in HPM

For consent, contact:

Special Comments:

This course will be taught for 3 days in Barcelona Spain. Some assigned readings must be completed prior to the first class session.