SPHERU Stories

People are Not Disposable

A reflection by Dr. Gabriela Novotna.

Dr. Gabriela Novotna’s research focuses on substance use and misuse, concurrent disorders, gambling, harm reduction, knowledge translation, and institutional theory.

It is time that we as a society change our approach to substance use and addictions.

With this research, we look for ways we can help people find and use supports that will lessen the negative consequences of their substance use or addictions.

Issues related to substance use are not limited to developing addictions.

There are many health, social, and safety problems for both individuals and communitieseven in the absence of addictions. We want to ensure the general public understands they can make healthier choices.

There are roadblocks to treatment created by different ideologies because prevention and treatment of substance use is often politicized.

Instead, we have to meet people where they are at in order for our interventions to be successful. That means learning and knowing the context and environment of the people you are working with. With this understanding, research helps us treat people with respect and uncover real solutions to underlying problems that can bring communities to better health.

Learn more about Dr. Novotna’s mental health and addictions treatment research at SPHERU.

The ‘Implications of Integration of Mental Health and Addiction Systems for Problem Gambling Treatment’ study represents a pioneering effort in using institutional theory to advance our insight into the mechanism of dissemination of organizational policies and practices. It has strong potential to answer the question how and why some concepts or practices enter new organizational fields and cause change, while others are never adapted (“translated”) or have difficulty in being implemented in practice.

The study’s “realistic treatment of service providers and organizations” will inform the practical discussions of managers, policy-makers, and academics about the potential of individuals and groups to shape organizational fields. Ultimately, these discussions will shed light on the mechanisms of institutional change in the studied integration-related efforts.