Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Harm Reduction: A Theoretical Framework

  • Harm reduction is a conceptual model of drug use that is non-judgmental and client-centered care.
  • Health-care practitioners who use the harm reduction approach meet clients “where they are” with respect to their motivation to change (Marlatt, et al., 2001, p. 14), and work collaboratively with them to establish goals and develop a client-centered plan of care.
  • When working with persons who are opioid dependent or on MMT, nurses must: (a) keep in mind the principles of harm reduction and its philosophy; (b) be aware of and address their own attitudes and biases; and (c) understand the philosophy of harm reduction, before providing effective care to this particular population.
  • The following model depicts theory and practical approaches to harm reduction

To view a harm reduction model click here

Addiction and Mental Health
Supporting Clients on Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Background Information