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Harm reduction and the American difference: Drug treatment and problem-solving courts in comparative perspective.

Nolan Jr, James L.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Journal of Health Care Law and Policy. 13(31): 31-47.

In my recent book, Legal Accents, Legal Borrowing, I examine the
development of problem-solving courts in the United States and observe the
process by which these courts have been exported to five other common law
countries: England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Australia.’ A comparison of the
development of problem-solving courts in these six cases reveals an important
difference between the U.S. and the other countries as it concerns the salience of
defining treatment philosophies. In the five non-U.S. regions, one finds a treatment
philosophy-typically characterized as “harm reduction” or “harm
minimization”-that is clearly distinct from the sort of sensibilities and treatment
practices common in the U.S. The harm reduction approach popular in these other countries manifests itself in a number of ways, including in the defining practices
of new problem-solving court programs. (Excerpt).


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