A Counterintuitive Recovery Program Helps Alcoholics

Recovering from Alcohol One Drink at a Time 

Just because alcohol is legal doesn’t mean it should be disqualified from harm-reduction programs. Alcohol can kill in more ways than heroin can, but somehow it doesn’t receive the same level of respect in harm-reduction treatments as other substances.

A study done by Canada’s Drug and Alcohol Review examined programs where participants are provided regular and measured doses of alcohol to cope with their addictions. The doses—usually equivalent to one standard drink—are usually offered at intervals, such as every hour or 90 minutes. Housing, food, and other supports are typically provided, as well.

According to an article from the Times Colonist, managed-alcohol programs are a radical idea being pursued seriously only in Canada. One of the first arose 25 years ago after three people froze to death in Toronto. They had been denied shelter spaces because they were drunk. Data for the papers were collected from about 380 people in 13 programs across Canada.

Clients are expected to show up at certified community centers for drinks, in some cases getting them in exchange for things such as non-beverage alcohol, which includes mouthwash and rubbing alcohol.

Managed-alcohol programs are meant for people who have tried everything else, and so it’s a last resort. Researchers believe managed-alcohol programs are best offered in a therapeutic-recovery community. Housing, food, and fellowship should be provided along with enough alcohol to keep addictions under control. It works better than simply detox and treatment, which usually wrap up after 30 to 60 days.

The programs are aimed primarily at people whose addictions have left them homeless and possibly in danger of dying—a small subset for whom abstinence programs haven’t worked. When combined with shelter and food, the programs can help improve health and social contacts with family and community.

Article Source: Times Colonist 

Image Source: Pixabay