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What is Harm Reduction?

Northwestern University expects all students to follow all applicable laws and policies regarding alcohol and other drug use. At the same time, we recognize that some students will drink or use other substances despite this expectation. The only truly safe use is no use, but for those who do use, we believe it is important to know how to minimize the risk of harm to self and others from drinking or drug use.

This philosophy of harm reduction guides our approach to alcohol and other drug prevention and education. Harm reduction is an evidence-based approach supported by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the World Health Organization.