The thought was that if we could stabilize the craziness of their lives, the day that begins with the search for alcohol and all the complications that occur with that, then maybe we could make inroads with their mental health, addiction to alcohol and their physical illnesses.
Lifelong alcoholics are also an enormous drain on public resources. The city of Ottawa has saved millions of dollars with such approaches to alcohol as there has been a huge reduction in 911 calls, hospital emergency visits, paramedic and police encounters, etc.
At exactly half past the hour, what’s known as ‘the pour’ begins. A measure of Californian white wine at 13% alcohol is measured out. The wine is then dispensed to the alcoholics. For the first pour at 730am, most residents get a kickstarter of 7oz – nearly 200ml. For the rest of the day until 9.30pm, they are given 5oz, just over 140ml.
“I’d love them all to be abstinent,” says Dr Turnbull. “But is that feasible or possible? Perhaps not. These people are stable in here. They’re happy, and they have a reasonable standard of living.”
Full article can be read here at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36717557