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Ottawa Homeless Shelter Is Helping Alcoholics by Giving Them Free Booze

Quitting cold turkey is one of the toughest things to do, which is why this homeless shelter in Ottawa is helping chronic alcoholics by handing out measured quantities of alcohol by the hour. Miraculously, the Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) has not only improved the overall health of its participants, but also reduced their average alcohol intake and helped them refrain from criminal activity.

The existence of the MAP is a miracle in itself, given that most other homeless shelters have a strict no-alcohol policy. But at the Oaks shelter for the homeless, five ounces of white wine are handed out in coffee cups every hour between 7.30 am and 9.30 pm, seven days a week. That’s a calculated amount, just enough for each resident to be able to shake off the symptoms of alcohol deprivation. No alcohol is handed out to anyone who comes in intoxicated. The routine began in the early 2000s, and continues to this day, with several residents lining up every single day for their share.

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