Use in substance abuse treatment

Bayless, C. (2014). Using mindfulness in a harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment: A literature review. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, (9)2, 22-26. Full text.

Abstract. Harm reduction, a modern post-2000 form of treatment for substance use behaviors, provided a public health and disease model for the of the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus in the early 1980s.

Different from the traditional choice of treatment, abstinence, harm reduction is designed to meet people “where they are at”. The traditional 12-step for substance use disorders does not allow the individual to relapse, lest it is considered the treatment has failed. Harm reduction focuses on the reduction of negative consequences of substance use and allows the substance user to accept moderate and safer use, thereby, reducing the harmful effects of the disorder.

The inclusion of mindfulness with harm reduction places the individual in the present state of awareness, the here and now, making them aware of cues that trigger the desire to use substances. This article will compare the use of harm reduction treatments combined with mindfulness techniques as an alternative treatment for substance abuse when the 12-step substance abuse program does not work for everyone.