Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Social Welfare

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 183 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Bonnie Carlson

Committee Members

Eric Hardiman, Robert Yagelski


Harm Reduction, Outpatient, Practitioners, Qualitative, Social Work, Substance Abuse, Harm reduction, Substance abuse, Ambulatory medical care

Subject Categories

Public Health | Public Policy | Social Work


In the United States, drug-free substance abuse treatment programs generally operate under an abstinence-only, disease model based service orientation. Citing several reasons, critics suggest disease model approaches hinder client utilization and retention within such services. The framework of harm reduction offers an alternative approach to substance abuse treatment services and may have potential for improving utilization and retention outcomes. Yet little is known about how harm reduction is perceived by practitioners in drug-free substance abuse treatment settings, and the circumstances in which harm reduction may or may not be accepted. In addition, despite a body of narrative literature suggesting harm reduction is consistent with professional social work, there is scant empirical work considering whether social workers differ from non-social workers in their beliefs and practices of harm reduction.