Harm reduction refers to policies, programmes and practices that aim to minimise negative health-related, societal and legal impacts associated with drug use, drug policies and drug laws. Harm reduction is grounded in justice and human rights – it focuses on positive change and on working with people without judgement, coercion, discrimination, or requiring that they stop using drugs as a prerequisite for support.
During harm reduction training, we will focus on understanding the positive and negative sides of drug use. We will look, without judgement, at what practical interventions can take place to reduce the risk.
In order to do so, we must understand how drugs work, what their effects are and what reasons people have for using drugs.
Education about drug use is the first step in helping people who are struggling with their use.
Training focuses on all aspects of drug use: facts, fiction, values, risks, benefits, addiction and how we can reduce as much harm as possible. This exploration can be specific to individual cases as well as to a group or even society.
Since the majority of drug training has a focus on abstinence, harm reduction training will have more realistic approach. There are many people who can’t or don’t want to quit their drug use. This training aims to provide all people that use drugs with the help and care they deserve.
Drugs exist in every society. Drugs will always be part of these societies. Each individual will come across drugs in their lifetime, either as a user or as someone who knows a user.
But what are drugs? What are the effects, and what are the risks?
In this training we will explore the world of drugs.
The use of drugs comes with health risks.
In the first part of training, we will explore which risks are associated with which drug use.
We will also look at the various routes of administration and what the risks associated with each route are.
The training will be divided into mental and the physical health risks associated with drug and alcohol use.
In the second part of training, we will look into how we can reduce these health risks.
We will look at realistic possible interventions based on your personal or work environment.
Though there has been a lot of research about addiction, the process of how someone becomes addicted is still difficult to understand. During training, trainees are taken on the path of addiction through practical explanation, examples and related situations.
In order to help people who are suffering from addiction, one must first understand the process they went through. Only by understanding it is possible to help other people.
This practical training will provide you with the answers to questions you have always had about addiction: why don’t they just quit, why don’t they just use less, is it a choice or is it a disease?
Questions that one understandably has.
Police officer: If I had had this workshop 15 years ago when I started working at the police, I would have had a better understanding for the situations I walked into. I will never act the same after this workshop.
Many drugs are being used during sexual activities. This can be either in a private setting or in the context of sex work.
With the use of drugs during sex, people are at a greater risk of contracting STI’s such as HIV and Hep-C. People are also at a greater risk of dependency, crossing personal boundaries and even violence.
During the “Sex and Alcohol/Drugs” training, we look at why people use drugs in a sexual setting, what the benefits and risks are and how we can reduce the possible harm that is associated with using drugs in a sexual setting.
As social workers / educators / trainers / coaches we tend to motivate people with our own logic and reason.
We are capable of looking at a certain issue with a helicopter view and provide arguments.
We convince clients to do the right thing.
But what is the right thing, and for who? And why do the right thing?
With motivational interviewing we, as healthcare workers, try to take distance from our own beliefs and reasons.
Motivational interviewing is about helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. We interview the client to find out what motivates them.
In the “Motivational Interview” training we will look at our own values, clients’ values, what drives the client and how we can support them in their decision-making.
A competence-based work approach is a way of working with people who have problems. These might be big or small problems. If you think about it, everybody has problems. What are your own problems? And how do you solve them? Can you solve them yourself or do you need help?
During your life you will come across many problems. Everybody does. Not being able to solve a problem translates into incompetence in a certain area.
You must realize that everybody is incompetent in certain areas. For instance, you might find it too difficult to fill in your taxes or repair your car.
If you bring your car to the garage for repair, does that make you competent?
Competence-based work focuses on finding the best way to solve the problems a person experiences. Solutions can involve developing skills, making tasks easier or changing the environment.
Competence-based work is an attitude, not just a trick one can do. The basics of competence- based work are:
Respect (for the client and their environment)
Adjusting the approach to suit a client’s strengths (only give tasks that a person can solve).
Focus on independence (in the end they should not need you)
Mutual agenda (be clear of what you do and be honest)
Step-by-step (small steps are more likely to succeed)
Focus on learning skills
It is important to realize that people will learn more when they hear what they are doing right. You want to create a positive learning environment!
In the “Competence-Based Work” training, we will look at all aspects of creating a positive learning environment from a home situation, to an institute, to life on the streets.
In the Netherlands, domestic violence is a recurring problem. Due to a lot of negative reports in the media, the Dutch Police were tasked with trying to bring down the numbers of domestic violence cases. At the time, police in the Netherlands would go into a situation involving domestic violence every 6 minutes. As part of a collaboration with the victim care program, JL Training Journeys was asked to do research and design a workshop for the police. The research showed a lot of frustration on every level of the police force. Often, they felt helpless in situations: though they could stop the violence at the time, they would often need to go back the next day. Unfortunately, the media makes it looks as though the police are the ones who need to stop the violence, the impossibility of which led to a lot of frustration amongst policemen.
The police can only do so much to reduce domestic violence situations. There are several partners needed. This workshop only aims at what is possible within the limits of the police force. It will not solve a domestic violence situation, but should be considered as a first step.
The goal of the workshop is to change the view and approach of the police officers who are dealing with domestic violence on the street. Though they should respond to the crime at hand and follow the law, domestic violence demands a more in-depth harm reduction approach. They need to understand the situation. This workshop provides that understanding. It has been presented to many layers of many police departments nationwide at many layers. It is considered to be a successful way of changing the attitude of the police on the street, as well as increasing their knowledge.
This workshop has proven highly successful within and outside the police force. Many organizations that work directly or indirectly with victims of domestic violence have joined the workshop and claim it to be an eye opener.
During the workshop, a domestic violence situation is explained from an addiction point of view.
The workshop will explain how a person can end up in a violent situation and still continue the relationship – even love the person that hurts them. The role of the perpetrator and how both individuals are stuck in their relationship is also explained.
The workshop does not provide a solution for domestic violence. It merely explains how the process of domestic violence works. Only by understanding it is possible to help other people.