Category Archives: Harm Reduction

“This place has given me a reason to care”: Understanding ‘managed alcohol programs’ as enabling places in Canada

I recently published a paper in the journal Health & Place that examines recovery experiences in a managed alcohol program. Recovery is not something that is generally associated with harm reduction. The model tends to be described in terms of reducing risks associated with substance use. What we aimed to do in this paper is show that harm reduction programs such as this one can furnish the resources associated with the mental health recovery process. The article is available for free download for the next month. Below is the abstract and a link.

For several decades, the emphasis on abstinence within homeless support systems has presented significant barriers to care for those who continue to use alcohol or drugs further marginalizing them in terms of housing and health/social services. In response, health care specialists and policymakers have recommended the integration of harm reduction philosophies and interventions into system-level responses to end homelessness. Managed alcohol programs (MAPs) have been developed to this end and have demonstrated positive results. While recent studies of MAPs have focused attention on reductions in alcohol related harms few have examined their meaning from the perspective of clients or the role of place. In this paper, we utilize the ‘enabling places’ frameworks to identify the place-bound properties that make a difference in the recovery journeys of clients. Drawing on in-depth interviews with clients from one program we develop a description of MAPs as enabling places that afford the elemental resources for personal recovery.

Link to article: