Harm Reduction in MSW Substance Abuse Courses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Professional social work largely has endorsed the empirically supported paradigm of harm reduction in relation to substance abuse issues. Despite literature detailing similarities between social work and harm reduction, little is known about its presence in MSW substance abuse coursework. A purposive sample of 133 social work faculty from accredited MSW programs in the United States provided an exploratory, qualitative web-based survey. Findings indicate harm reduction varies in scope and nature and that faculty relate it to quality of life yet differ on its goals. Some faculty and students hold predisposed negative views toward harm reduction; students' views are influenced by professional and personal experiences yet also become more accepting with exposure. Implications for social work education and subsequent research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-405
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Teaching in Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • curricular content
  • graduate education
  • harm reduction
  • professional social work
  • substance abuse


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