Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Ande Nesmith


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the need for substance use education for social workers and their response when implicating harm reduction approaches within their chemical dependence practice. This study fulfilled the requirements outlined for a systematic review by having a series of requirements, such as articles pertaining to do with harm reduction methods and social work, to be included within the research. This method revealed 11 articles that met the needed requests and were later examined. Within the 11, articles three prominent themes emerged. The themes included, but were not limited to relationships, exposure, and ambiguity. The study revealed that as social workers increase their exposure to substance recovery, the more accepting they are of harm reduction. While some practitioners are apprehensive to harm reduction models, it does provide the client more autonomy than alternative recovery methods. Further implications would be for those working with chemical dependence to be educated on harm reduction as it might benefit their agency, workers, and clients. Research on this topic should continue around client’s motivation for decreasing substance use and harm reduction approaches for other lifestyle behaviors.

Included in

Social Work Commons