"Proponents of public health approaches differ in their general views of substance use, ranging from broad disapproval (Gostin & Lazzarini, 1997) to the suggestion of potential benefits (Jonas, 1994); accordingly, some calls for a public health approach focus on prevention and treatment (McLellan, 2017), while others emphasize harm reduction (Sweanor et al., 2007). Even among calls for a public health approach to opioids in North America, definitions range from those narrowly focused on population-level prevention via surveillance and research (Joranson & Gilson, 2006) to expansive ones that include a commitment to the principles of social justice, human rights, and equity (Emerson & Haden, 2021). So while public health approaches to substance use are frequently called for, what they are—or should be—remains unclear."


Crépault JF, Russell C, Watson TM, Strike C, Bonato S, Rehm J. What is a public health approach to substance use? A qualitative systematic review and thematic synthesis. Int J Drug Policy. 2023;112:103958. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2023.103958