Time: You practice a harm-reduction approach to addiction, in which you provide clean needles and safe spaces for addicts to inject drugs. Americans have long tended to see this as “enabling” and typically view it as a bad thing because it doesn’t require addicts to be abstinent to receive care.
Dr. Gabor Mate: “The question is, Is it better for people to inject drugs with puddle water or sterile water? Is it better to use clean needles or share so that you pass on HIV and hepatitis C? This is what harm reduction is. It doesn’t treat addiction, it just reduces harm. In medicine, we do this all the time. People smoke but we still give them inhalers to open airways, so what’s different? You’re not enabling anything they’re not already using.