The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4092.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 2

Abstract #34208

Drug user-generated outcomes of harm reduction: Results of participatory research

Terry Ruefli, PhD, New York Harm Reduction Educators, Inc., 903 Dawson Street, Bronx, NY 10459 and Susan Rogers, PhD, Academy for Educational Development (AED), 100 Fifth Ave., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011, (212) 367-4566,

Purpose: To advance the study of harm reduction programs and their clients, qualitative research was conducted to develop valid outcomes that are culturally relevant, incremental and hierarchical (i.e., capable of showing how clients improve over time). Methods: The study used nominal group technique to develop the outcomes and focus group interviews to help validate findings. An availability sample of 180 clients was recruited from a large, urban harm reduction program. Results: The qualitative study resulted in 12 scaled outcomes that included better to worse ways of making money, getting something to eat, being housed/homeless, relating to family, dealing with health problems, dealing with negative emotions, dealing with legal problems, improving oneself, and dealing with drug use problems. It also included an outcome of the most to least valued program/ benefit/service and the strongest to weakest characteristics of chaotic and stable drug use. The results were overall validated with a different set of study participants who also provided a window into drug users lives, values and realities. Conclusions: These results challenge traditional ways of measuring drug use based solely on quantity and frequency. They suggest that more appropriate measures are related to the extent to which drug users organize their lives around drug use and the extent to which drug use is integrated and negatively impacts other life areas. They suggest that harm reduction and other programs serving active drug users and other marginalized people should not rely on institutionalized, provider-defined solutions to problems in living faced by their clients.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Other Drugs, Outcome Measures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: The organization I work for, AED, has a contract with the New York Harm Reduction Educators, Inc. (NYHRE) where the research that will be presented is being conducted.

Substance Abuse Treatment Strategies Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA