- Dann’s House follows a harm reduction model. Harm reduction calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who struggle with substance use disorder and the communities in which they live, in order to help them to reduce attendant harms.
- Homelessness, poverty, and drug and alcohol use and abuse have always been part of our society and will not be eliminated. Therefore, it is better to work to minimize harm than to ignore the situation, or stigmatize the condition.
- Alcohol and drug abuse is a spectrum disorder that ranges from abstinence to severe abuse. Harm reduction acknowledges that reductions in use or adoption of less harmful forms of use are desirable outcomes. Abstinence and recovery are always part of the harm reduction philosophy, but not always the immediate goal.
- Overall quality of life for the individual and the community, not just abstinence, are valid criteria for successful interventions and policies.
- Harm reduction advocates non-judgmental services and voluntary participation as the best way to engage clients to reduce harmful behavior.
- Harm reduction includes the client in all decisions about the services offered to them.
- Harm reduction recognizes the self-healing quality of individuals and seeks to empower them to share and support each other in strategies to reduce harm.
- Harm reduction recognizes social inequalities, co-occurring conditions, and other barriers that impact an individual’s vulnerability to substance use disorders and their capacity to change their behavior.
- Harm reduction never minimizes the real harm and danger associated with alcohol and drug use, abuse, and dependency.
Elements of Harm Reduction Service Delivery
- Harm reduction recognizes abstinence and/or changed behavior as an ideal outcome but accepts alternatives that reduce harm
- Harm reduction promotes low-threshold access to services as an alternative to traditional high-threshold approaches
- Drug and alcohol use is a coping mechanism for other issues
- Success is measured by an individual’s quality of life and well-being, not by a reduction in drug and/or alcohol use
- The individual sets his or her own goals in collaboration with the service provider
- There are many different harm reduction strategies and plans