Opioids, Care and Addiction

Zero Harm Initiative

The Zero Harm Initiative (ZHI) is an idea. It does not yet formally exist. For now, it is a notional space helping to incubate and eventually pilot creative proposals that will pull the system of care and addiction into a new future. It begins with the understanding that risk of addiction is part of the human condition.

The current systems that claim to serve drug users and drug dependent people, tend to immiserate them. Influenced by the idea that addiction is a moral failing, people using drugs are shamed and ostracized, then blamed for their own social isolation. Those who seek to help, find themselves forced into the position of rescuers, relying on a crisis response that further deepens the dependence of drug users, rather than empowers them. 

The Zero Harm Initiative is an outpost for discovery at the frontier of human wellbeing. If we rebuild our institutions for the human condition rather than the diagnosis, we build for resilience and empathy. Life with addiction should be just as rich, valued and  meaningful as life without addiction. This ambitious work will draw on proven practices for large-scale systems change. It will blend the creative process expertise of systems designers and innovators with the subject matter expertise of people with lived experience, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, public policy, researchers, government, and the private sector.

The ZHI’s aim is to address this challenge with a spectrum of interventions, from products to policies, not as isolated parts, but in connection and relation to one another.