Discuss the Effectiveness Aimed at Reducing Addictive Behaviour (10 Marks)

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Discuss the effectiveness aimed at reducing addictive behaviour (10 marks) The most dramatic public health intervention in recent years has been the ban on smoking in all public places introduced in England in 2007 (following the introduction in Scotland a year earlier). However, there is no evidence as yet that smokers have given up smoking in huge numbers because of the legislation, suggesting that whilst the ban has reduced second-hand exposure levels by over 70%, it has not caused any decline in the numbers of smokers in the UK. Public health education interventions also have had little success in reducing addictive behaviour. The message “Hey kids, just say ‘No!’” does not work. Similarly, the use of scare tactics, such as pictures of overdoses, has failed to bring about reductions in drug use. Instead, an alternative approach is to encourage harm minimisation. This approach accepts that people will engage in risky behaviour and tries to reduce the health risks by encouraging users to take the drug safely. For example, the provision of needle exchanges means that addicts do not share injecting equipment; this dramatically reduces the risk of getting blood infections such as hepatitis or HIV and AIDS. Another way of reducing the potential harm to intravenous drug users is to provide medically controlled drugs as a substitute for street drugs. Drugs such as methadone are less harmful than street heroin, partly because they are free from impurities. An issue with the public health interventions I have discussed is that it may be too early to measure. It is still too early to see the full effect of the smoking ban as it was only introduced fairly recently, which could explain why there have been no significant changes in the number of smokers following the ban. As well as this, harm minimisation programmes are controversial because they appear to condone
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