Programs whose objectives are to protect people from the potentially deadly effects of the drugs they use, reduce HIV risk, increase access to treatment services and reduce public drug use and improper disposal of hypodermic needles and syringes.
Programs that provide structured therapy groups or other interventions which help recovering drug and/or excessive alcohol users make the cognitive, behavioural and attitudinal changes that are necessary to prevent them from returning to their previous patterns of use. The program helps participants deal in a very focused way with a wide variety of issues that have an impact on their commitment to sobriety and may include topics like exercise, nutrition, boredom, addictive behaviour, looking forward, work and recovery, guilt and shame, the role of 12-step programs, staying busy, truthfulness, trust, repairing relationships, anger management, money management and dealing with feelings.
Programs that provide permanent accommodations for people who have a chronic problem with excessive use of alcohol and/or use of other drugs and no expectation of recovery. In most cases, there are no requirements for abstinence as a condition for housing. Included are "damp" housing for people who are able to live in a setting where abstinence is encouraged but substance use is permitted on the premises in moderation; and "wet" housing for people who are unwilling and/or unable to make a commitment to consumption limitations and are actively using drugs and/or alcohol addictively. In most cases, alcohol consumption is permitted at the residence, either in a person's room or in common areas, while drug use is not tolerated on-site but residents can use drugs away from the building. Both are contrasted to "dry" housing where residences are alcohol and drug-free. In most cases, residents in these facilities are formerly homeless and have undergone numerous failed attempts at treatment for alcohol and/or drug use. Without this harm reduction alternative, homeless people with chronic substance use issues sleep on the street and are at increased risk of exposure to adulterated or harmful substances, or depend on costly detoxification and scarce emergency shelter beds for housing.
Programs that provide alternative, nonresidential environments that are drug and alcohol free for individuals who have or are recovering from a problem with excessive use of alcohol and/or use of other drugs. Services may include recreational activities, socialization, information and referral, individual and/or group counselling sessions, 12-step meetings, snacks, day beds, showers and/or clean clothing. And while some programs may be open to active users, others are tailored specifically for people who have completed a substance use related treatment program and need ongoing support to sustain an abstinent lifestyle. Drop-in settings may feature a non-clinical, clubhouse environment adapted from the psychiatric rehabilitation clubhouse model or take a more traditional approach; and may be structured for different age groups or other populations.
Programs that provide immediate assistance for people who have problems related to excessive use of alcohol and/or use of other drugs or are at risk of a substance use related disorder. Services may include defusing the crisis, ensuring the person's safety and information about alternatives the person may explore to begin recovering. Substance use related hotlines are also typically available to significant others of people who are involved with drugs and/or excessive alcohol use. Hotline staff can generally be reached via the telephone, email, live chat, texting and/or instant message (IM).
Programs that link people who are in need of drug and/or alcohol use disorder services with appropriate resources.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.