US Social Work Students’ Attitudes Shift Favorably Towards a Harm Reduction Approach to Alcohol and Other Drugs Practice: The Effectiveness of Consequence Analysis: Sarah K. Moore & Mark A. Mattaini
Given the increasing numbers of people in need of treatment for problems associated with Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) problems and the concomitant likelihood that social worker caseloads currently reﬂect this increase, a critical analysis of social work student attitudes towards different approaches to AOD treatment is warranted. Our study examined United States’ social work students’ (n ¼ 100) attitudes towards treatment approaches to practice with people who misuse/abuse AOD and enlisted a Consequence Analysis (CA) intervention designed to shift attitudes towards considering a harm reduction approach. The Harm Reduction Acceptability Scale (HRAS), as well as a twoitem response measure, measured pretest and posttest attitudes. Findings demonstrate that at pretest both intervention and comparison groups were willing to consider a goal of moderation (a proxy for the acceptability of a harm reduction approach and a clientcentered perspective), and neutral on the effectiveness of an abstinence-oriented approach. At posttest, the intervention group became more ﬂexible and open to the broader philosophical perspective of a harm reduction approach while the comparison group became less so. Consequence Analysis appears responsible for producing the observed changes in attitude towards harm reduction. Implications for international social work education and training are discussed.