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Dewi Hughes considers the theology of harm reduction strategies

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Harm reduction strategies aim at reducing the consequences of harmful behaviour rather than at reducing the behaviours that result in lifestyle related disease.

The author argues that Old Testament law mixes absolute ideal principles and prescriptions for situations that are less than ideal, and that Jesus was a friend of ‘sinners’. Following Jesus must therefore involve friendship with sinners and commitment to their total wellbeing.

While doctors’ primary professional responsibility is to protect people from the health consequences of socially acceptable practices, as Christian citizens we should take every
opportunity to teach God’s ideal and restore a moral context to behaviour.