Just as substance use disorder is unique to the individual, the pathway a person uses to achieve recovery must also be unique and person-specific. There are 25 million Americans in recovery, and many pathways utilized to achieve their recovery goals. The majority of these pathways — with the exception of harm reduction — promote abstinence as the main, if not only objective, or outcome, of recovery. We believe that all pathways should be presented and utilized, rather than forcing someone into a specific pathway. Remedy Recovery believes that clients have the right to self-determine.

Scientific research in this area demonstrates that when used effectively, harm reduction, involving medication-assisted treatment (MAT), has shown both to be an effective protocol and has provided successful long-term outcomes. It is the approach Remedy Recovery uses. Validated and supported harm reduction is FDA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing the negative consequences associated with drug use. It recognizes that drug use is common, with few societies in the world lacking a means of accessing drugs and altering states of mind. It is also a social justice movement that is built on the belief in, and respect for, the rights of those who use drugs. Remedy Recovery believes that drug use is health concern never a crime.

The philosophy of harm reduction is the understanding that drug use is complex and multifaceted, and that it involves a range of behaviors from severe use to total abstinence. It acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others. Harm reduction uses a number of strategies, including: safer use, managed use, needle exchanges, treatment instead of jail, or abstinence. It involves meeting the person where they are and addressing their reasons for using and the conditions surrounding the person’s drug use. A key outcome of harm reduction is establishing quality of individual and community life and well-being, but not necessarily achieving cessation of drug use.

Remedy Recovery’s approach to harm reduction

We believe that improvement matters. Progress matters. For a culture steeped in the truism “progress, not perfection,” we do a poor job of acknowledging progress. If someone has a new diagnosis of diabetes and they change their diet and exercise and make strides toward a goal, we congratulate them and encourage them to keep going. Yet if someone with substance use disorder does the same, but is not completely abstinent, we shame them by telling them that they’re unwilling or constitutionally incapable of quitting.

Remedy Recovery will never do that. Harm reduction, as a philosophy, celebrates any positive change. We believe that reducing harm is progress and deserves recognition. Every day, we see our clients’ lives improving though the appropriate use of harm reduction — specifically MAT.

MAT is the use of medications, in combination with behavioral therapies and counseling, for the treatment of substance use disorders. This combination of medication and therapy has proven to be effective in the treatment of substance use disorders and has been a primary factor in helping many people sustain recovery.

For more information, visit What is MAT? .