Harm Reduction and 12 Step Approaches Complimentary?

PeaPod has a great post on harm reduction and 12 step oriented treatment. He reviews an article that suggests that they can be complimentary.

I’m more and more convinced that this is true. However, the big question is, what values and beliefs animate the intervention?

Can the harm reduction provider embrace beliefs like:

  • for addicts, abstinence (a foundation for full recovery) is the best outcome,
  • most addicts are capable of achieving full recovery if they are given the proper treatment and support,
  • we workers can’t pick the winners and losers,
  • drug use by addicts is a bad thing (a symptom of an illness),
  • meeting people where they are at is great, but shouldn’t leave them there—it is the responsibility of all providers to look for opportunities to move the addict toward full recovery.

Can drug-free treatment providers embrace beliefs like:

  • gradual improvement is good and something to be affirmed,
  • self-determination is important,
  • choices are not a threat,
  • support of the addict should be unconditional—it should continue whether the addict is using or not,
  • dead addicts can’t recover.

Where this gets sticky is establishing priorities in the context of scarce resources.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Harm Reduction and 12 Step Approaches Complimentary?

  1. Thanks for the link, but also for focussing on what’s often forgotten: the values and beliefs that guide our behaviours. I like the questions you pose and I’m going to cross post them (hope that’s okay) as an update in the Binge Inking blog.

  2. Jason Schwartz

    Absolutely! Thanks for the original post.