HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

HAMS at the ASAP 13th Annual Conference

ASAP is the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State's professional association. This is the first time that HAMS has presented at a mainstream addictions conference. We were accepted for a poster presentation. The conference was from October 30 to November 2, 2011. Much was accomplished to create good relations between the harm reduction community and the mainstream addictions treatment community. A sea change is taking place--I predict that harm reduction will soon be integral to the mainstream.

The HAMS poster presentation

HAMS Handout (PDF)

HAMS conference photos on flickr
harm reduction alcohol


Title: An Alcohol Harm Reduction Self-Help Manual

Description: The HAMS Harm Reduction Network has published a book titled "How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol" (ISBN 145383060X). This book is a compendium of harm reduction techniques and strategies for people who wish to change their drinking for the better, including people who wish to drink alcohol in a safer manner, to reduce their consumption of alcohol or who wish to quit drinking entirely. These strategies and techniques include a Cost Benefit Analysis as a tool for choosing an alcohol use goal, Risk Ranking and Risk Tracking strategies, Alternative Coping Strategies, and Drink Counting and Tracking Strategies. We also discuss home detox techniques for people who wish to avoid the stigma of having a diagnosis of Alcohol Dependence on their medical records. Additionally, we discuss ways to avoid alcohol withdrawal, including the use of alcohol-free days to avoid withdrawal and Marijuana Maintenance (cannabis as a substitute for alcohol) as a safer alternative for people who have great difficulty avoiding alcohol withdrawal. All HAMS strategies and techniques are optional. HAMS is deeply committed to respecting each drinker as an individual and hence goals of safer drinking, reduced drinking, or quitting are always chosen by the individual and never assigned from the outside. Not only is this a self-help manual but it is also an excellent resource for clinicians working with people who are not helped by more traditional models.

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