Clients perspectives of managed alcohol programs in the first six months and their relational shifts




Hall, Shana

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Background. The prevalence of alcohol dependence, defined as being physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol, among homeless people is 8%-58% compared to 4%-16% of alcohol dependence prevalence in the general population. Homelessness also contributes to alcohol dependence, and alcohol dependence is more difficult to treat and manage when combined with homelessness and alcohol-related harms. Alcohol harm reduction strategies for those with severe alcohol dependence and experiencing homelessness are gaining traction. There are 22 Managed Alcohol Programs (MAPs) in several cities across Canada. MAPs can reduce harms for people with severe alcohol dependence who live with acute, chronic, and social harms. In this research, I report on MAP participants views in the first six months of being in a MAP to provide insights into implementation of MAPs. Research Question. My central research question was: What are MAP participants perspectives of MAP during the early period of transition into MAP? With an objective to understand implementation from participants perspectives, I specifically asked: How are MAP participants situated in the world, what are their experiences, and what are the relational shifts that occur during early transition into MAP? Methodology and Theoretical Perspective. In my research, I used interpretive description informed by constructivism. I drew on relational theory to interpret my findings. The use of interpretive description, informed by constructivism and relational theory, brought forth greater insight into MAP participants views of and subsequent shifts in their relationships with the environment, alcohol, themselves, and others before and during MAP. Results/Findings. Participants perspectives focused on four key findings: (a) participants shifting perspectives of non-beverage alcohol when beverage alcohol was available in MAP, (b) participants motivation to change and insights into their own drinking, (c) reasons for drinking outside of MAP, and (d) relational insights and shifts in their connections with others. Conclusions. For individuals experiencing homelessness and severe alcohol dependence and its inherent associated harms, MAPs help to support relational shifts that support safer drinking patterns and/or meaningfully interrupt cycles of uncontrolled drinking as well as help to re-establish new relationships with alcohol, themselves, family, and friends.



Alcolhol dependence, Alcohol harm reduction strategies, Homeless, Managed Alcohol Programs