In terms of drug policy, harm reduction is broadly defined as a range of pragmatic and evidence-based policies, which primarily attempt to reduce the negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction strategies target a variety of risks associated with drug use and misuse, including adverse health, social, and economic consequences. Harm reduction’s defining features include a focus on preventing harm, rather than preventing drug use, and a commitment to respecting users’ human rights.
Health and Society
Guatemala places in the top ten among the most overcrowded prison systems in the world. A lack of infrastructure and financial corruption has left Guatemala in this situation. The economy of Guatemala correlates with this poorly maintained structure and system of prisons. A contributing factor to Guatemalan prison overpopulation is likely overpopulation within the country as well.
In June of this year, Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego erupted with catastrophic consequences. Over two months after the eruption, the death toll from the volcano was 165, and 260 people were still missing as villages were flooded with ash and lava. In total, more than 1.7 million people were affected by the deadly eruption (World Vision, 2018). In 1985, Colombia’s Nevado del Ruíz volcano in the Andes mountains erupted resulting in one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in modern history.
As conditions worsen in Venezuela, more and more families are finding themselves in a state of food insecurity. As of 2016, two-thirds of all Caracas households surveyed by the children’s rights group Cecodap reported that they were not eating a substantial quantity of food, and that number has been rising (Walkers 2016). With few alternatives, many parents have had to turn their nightmares into reality and give up their children in an effort to provide them with food.
This month, authorities in Peru uncovered a widespread baby-trafficking ring in and around the southern city of Arequipa. It appears that the gang operated by preying on poor pregnant women who could not afford to raise a child, and convincing them to sell their babies when they were born. Peruvian authorities have labeled the trafficking ring’s participants ‘Los Desalmados del Tráfico Humano’ (‘The Soulless Human Traffickers’). Although it is seldom discussed in mainstream circles, the trade of newborns and young children is relatively common in developing countries all around the world, including Indonesia and Nigeria.
Whether or not he knew it, just before being assassinated while delivering mass in the Chapel of the Hospital de la Divina Providencia in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero uttered the words that would act as a rallying cry for his supporters: “If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. … A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish” (Sandoval 2018).