Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Daisy Rooks

Commitee Members

James Burfeind, Andrea Vernon


harm reduction, homeless, substance abuse, substance abuse treatment


University of Montana


Although homelessness is generally thought of as an urban problem, it is also a growing problem in rural areas, such as Missoula, Montana (Jacobson 2010). Studies of urban homelessness indicate that substance abuse is a part of life for many homeless individuals, and the barriers to substance abuse treatment are exacerbated by being homeless (Snow and Anderson 1993; Morrell 2007). “Prevalence studies estimate that the percentage of homeless people with alcohol use disorders to be at 30%-40% and drug abuse at 10%-15%” (Fisk, Raakfeldt, and McCormack 2006: 480). Substance abuse is also common among homeless individuals in rural areas, including Missoula, where this research takes place (Jacobson 2010). This research takes place in the only ‘wet’ day center for homeless persons in Missoula. Unlike traditional homeless shelters, harm reduction facilities or ‘wet’ facilities provide services to those under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Clients of ‘wet’ facilities offer an important perspective on substance abuse and treatment, as they are most likely to have experiences with both. To better understand this population, this project uses participant observation and in-depth interviews with clients and staff of a ‘wet’ facility to explain their perceived and experienced barriers to substance abuse treatment.



© Copyright 2011 Amanda Beth Taylor