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The City Giving Wine to Alcoholics

July 7th, 2016

Episode 1281 of 1341 episodes

The conventional treatment for chronic alcoholics is abstinence. Not in Ottawa. At the Oaks, a residence for those who were once homeless, occupants are given a measure of white wine at hourly intervals throughout the day. The ‘Managed Alcohol Program’ has improved the health of its participants, reduced their alcohol intake, and in some cases enabled them to stop drinking altogether. It’s also saved the city of Ottawa millions of dollars in public services – one man was hospitalised 191 times in the six months before joining the programme. Hours and hours of police time have been clawed back too – this is a population used to stealing to feed addiction, but the hourly ‘pour’ enables them to refrain from criminal activity. The Ottawa programme has been introduced in other Canadian cities, and it’s now attracting international attention. Linda Pressly spends time at the Oaks to find out how it works.

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