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What impact does education and experience have on the harm reduction attitudes of professionals working in homeless services?

King, Ciarán (2020) What impact does education and experience have on the harm reduction attitudes of professionals working in homeless services? Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Harm reduction in relation to illegal drugs is regularly the subject of research. Since the 1990’s Ireland has taken a harm reduction approach to illegal drug use but without in depth policy debate on the topic. Drug policy can be a controversial topic, both in Ireland and internationally, with harm reduction and abstinence approaches often seen as mutually exclusive.

According to several previous studies people who are experiencing homelessness are more likely to have a drug addiction compared to the non homeless population and more at risk from the harms associated with drug use. Therefore, professionals in homeless services are likely to work with people with a drug addiction and are responsible for interventions relating to the support of these individuals, which could include providing advice, enforcing service rules and signposting to specialist addiction services. It is unclear whether professionals working in such important roles agree with the national drug policy of harm reduction. There has been limited research relating to the professionals who work in services that provide harm reduction services, especially in an Irish context.

The research question of this study is ‘What impact does education and experience have on the harm reduction attitudes of professionals working in homeless services?’. This study used a quantitative approach to conduct surveys of professionals working in an organisation that operates a broad range of services and accommodation for people experiencing homelessness. The study measured each respondent’s level of harm reduction acceptability on the Harm Reduction Acceptability Scale and compared these scores to participants’ experience and education to identify whether there is a correlation. Overall staff were inclined towards a harm reduction approach and the variables of education level, position held in the organisation and the length of time working in homeless services predicted a more favourable attitude to harm reduction. Limitations and areas of future research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Health and Safety at Work.
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Science in Management
Depositing User: Dan English
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2021 11:33
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2021 11:33
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/4675

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