According to the University of Victoria, some radical harm reduction practices have begun to be brought into the public eye.

For examples, and a contrast, one methodology of harm reduction can be considered non-radical, which is the provision of safe needle exchange programs in specific areas of a neighbourhood. Another aspect could include on-site trained staff and Naloxone in case of overdoses for those in need of it.

The other, or as is called radical harm reduction in some reportage, is the use of the substance, at least in the case of alcohol, to curb the negative side effects of the substance in an individual’s unfortunate addiction.

A peer-reviewed academic journal has been compiling, and is reported to have completed the task, a list of the peer-reviewed literature on MAPs or Managed Alcohol Programs, which amount to the provision of measured doses of alcohol throughout the day in individuals with severe addiction to alcohol.

Given the descriptor “radical,” this, of course, does amount to a controversial program of action or branch of harm reduction methodology. But this goes back to a question about the evidence, especially the high quality peer-reviewed evidence. What does it say about MAPs in particular and radical harm reduction methodologies in general?

Drug and Alcohol Review published a special issue with four papers by researchers “at the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR, formerly CARBC) from the Canadian Managed Alcohol Program Study(CMAPS), which looks at data from approximately 380 individual MAP participants and controls across the country—the largest study ever conducted.”

Bernie Pauly and Tim Stockwell at the University of Victoria, the CMAPS Principal Investigators, reported that these amount to the most significant set of publication findings in relation to the work of MAPs.

They wrote, “It’s intended to stimulate debate and focus future research on strategies to improve outcomes for this vulnerable and often under-serviced population.”

Pauly said, “The initial results are promising in reducing acute and social harms as well as economic costs… We also need to take a closer look at how we can better provide culturally appropriate care to Indigenous people and more relevant services for women.”

The work by CISUR through MAPs is seen as a “made-in-Canada harm-reduction approach,” which continues to gain recognition in the local and global arenas. Community partners are assisting with their work.


Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. (2018). Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. Retrieved from

The Canadian Managed Alcohol Program Study (CMAPS). (2018). The Canadian Managed Alcohol Program Study (CMAPS). Retrieved from

Shore, R. (2018, February 20). Radical harm reduction for illicit alcohol may save lives, studies find. Retrieved from

University of Victoria News. (2018, February 19). Radical harm reduction: coming out from under the radar. Retrieved from

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen


Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail:

Share This