A hand locked to glass of alcoholReducing the Harm of Substances in Your Life: A Harm Reduction Approach

Have you noticed that your substance use is impacting your mood, relationships, or work? Are you looking to reduce the negative impact substances are playing in your life? Harm Reduction methods can be useful in exploring ways to prevent harm and reduce risks in your life caused by substances.

One Harm Reduction approach to explore is “drug, set, setting”. The substance and amount used (the drug), the mindset and emotional state one is in while using (set), and the setting one uses in (setting), are all areas where helpful interventions can be applied to assist you in reducing the harm substances have in your life.

For example, if you are using alcohol and find that you use a large amount quickly, is there a way you can slow down or drink more water? Do you find that you drink when you are stressed (mind set)? Can you try to exercise or call a friend before having your first drink to explore other ways to cope with the stress? Do you tend to overuse when you are alone or socializing (setting)? Changing the setting you use in can change the pattern of overuse. Abstinence is also a form of harm reduction and falls on the harm reduction spectrum. Is abstinence an approach you are open to and if so, what support resources are available and are you interested in exploring?

Applying these interventions can be very helpful. Talk with your provider more about harm reduction approaches and support available in your community to explore resources and treatment approaches that best fit your needs at this time.

– Gina

For More Information

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The Problem of Denial: How to Help Loved Ones with Substance Use and Other Destructive Habits

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