Mary Woods

One Hour AT A Time

Mary Woods

  • Harm Reduction and Abstinence – Special Encore Presentation!

Harm Reduction and Abstinence – Special Encore Presentation!

Monday 15th December 2008

Discover the ongoing debate on substance abuse treatment between harm reduction and abstinence on this episode of One Hour AT A Time. Learn from Dr. Tom Irwin as he explains the differences between the two approaches and how both can be used to help individuals recover.
55 minutes
Informative
Thought-provoking
Engaging
Educational
Supportive

About this podcast

One Hour AT A Time
Author:
Mary Woods
Overview:
Categories:
Sobriety Toolkit
Innovative Treatments & Recovery Paths
Family Recovery from Addiction
Recovery from Trauma
Creative Recovery Journeys
Links:
Visit site
Rounded Button Dark
Do you want to link to this podcast?
Get the buttons here!

Harm Reduction vs Abstinence: Understanding the Debate on Substance Abuse Treatment

Harm reduction isn't a four-letter word and abstinence isn't the end of the road for people who have addiction.
In the world of substance abuse treatment, the debate on harm reduction versus abstinence has been ongoing for years. In this episode of One Hour AT A Time, host Mary Woods talks to Dr. Tom Irwin, the Program Director for The McLean Center at Fernside, about the two approaches and the importance of individualizing treatment interventions based on the person's goals. Harm reduction is a continuum, as is the treatment for any other major illness. It's important for families and practitioners to talk about harm reduction and understand that abstinence is not the end goal for everyone. Abstinence is a form of harm reduction, but it's not always possible or healthy for certain behaviors like overeating. The goal is to have proper nutrition that's healthy and clients and patients may have very different values on what that means.
The treatment process is usually a process of transferring an individual from one level of care in one system to another level of care in a different system. This can be challenging, and where people enter the system is critical. Some people do well with an outpatient program, while others may need more structure. Being able to step people up and down during the course of a full treatment process is essential, but there are very few programs that have the capacity to do that within their system.
Dr. Irwin and Woods also discussed the whole idea of recovery and medically assisted recovery. There is still a debate on whether medically assisted recovery is sobriety, and it's important to reframe that harm reduction isn't a four-letter word. Abstinence isn't the end of the road for people who have addiction. The primary goal is to get the person safe and stable, and that may include complete detox from all substances. Recovery is a continuum, and it's crucial to look at the whole person and the person's goals to individualize treatment from a menu of different interventions that are available today. The end goal is to help the person recover and live a fulfilling life.
The debate on harm reduction versus abstinence is ongoing in the world of substance abuse treatment. Harm reduction is a continuum, and abstinence is a form of harm reduction. It's important for families and practitioners to talk about harm reduction and understand that the treatment process is a continuum. Recovery is a personal journey, and the end goal is to help the person recover and live a fulfilling life. Listen to the episode now here on alcoholfree.com to learn more about harm reduction and abstinence and how both can be used to help individuals recover.