What does ‘harm reduction’ mean?

When people think of harm reduction they often associate it with methadone clinics or needle exchanges. It is not often discussed in terms of alcohol use. Simply put, harm reduction is about meeting a person where they are.

Alavida recognises that heavy drinking falls on a spectrum of mild to severe. Not all individuals need or want abstinence. The goals for treatment vary significantly depending on how much alcohol consumption is affecting daily life and the individual motivation for change.. Some people want to have more control over their drinking such as, when or how much they drink.

Others want to reduce their drinking to specific social situations or choose abstinence as an end goal. Many individuals also want to see improvements in their health, work, or family life as part of change. Whatever the treatment goal, harm reduction is about identifying change that is important to each person and then providing the skills to achieve those goals.