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 access to fast, professional treatment for people with opioid and alcohol use disorders. RAAM clinics are low-barrier, walk-in facilities that patients can visit to get help for a substance use disorder, in most cases without an appointment or formal referral. Their operating hours range from daily to once a week. In addition to addiction physicians, the clinics provide access to nurses and counsellors, who are able to provide medication-assisted treatment and short-term therapy until the patient is stable and ready to be transferred back to their primary care physicians, who are provided with materials to be prepared to take over the patient's treatment plan. Medications used by the clinics in treatment include buprenorphine or methadone for opioid use disorders, and naltrexone or acamprosate for alcohol use disorders.
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 based on a harm reduction model that provide a safe and supportive environment which allows individuals who use drugs and/or alcohol to drop in and access multiple related services including group and individual counselling, day beds, showers, clothing, medical care, needle exchanges, sterile injection equipment and overdose prevention training, as well as information and referral, social activities and snacks. The programs may be structured for specific populations such as women or sex trade workers or be open to all.
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.