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" width="8" height="8"/> Study: Free booze benefits homeless alcoholics, Extremely interesting initiative
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zaragosa
post Jan 6 2006, 11:00 AM
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Study: Free booze benefits homeless alcoholics

TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) -- Giving homeless alcoholics a regular supply of booze may improve their health and their behavior, the Canadian Medical Association Journal said in a study published on Tuesday.

Seventeen homeless adults, all with long and chronic histories of alcohol abuse, were allowed up to 15 glasses of wine or sherry a day -- a glass an hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- in the Ottawa-based program, which started in 2002 and is continuing.

After an average of 16 months, the number of times participants got in trouble with the law had fallen 51 percent from the three years before they joined the program, and hospital emergency room visits were down 36 percent.

"Once we give a 'small amount' of alcohol and stabilize the addiction, we are able to provide health services that lead to a reduction in the unnecessary health services they were getting before," said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, one of the authors of the report.

"The alcohol gets them in, builds the trust and then we have the opportunity to treat other medical diseases... It's about improving the quality of life."

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/01/...reut/index.html
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The Poster Formerly Known as Y2A
post Jan 6 2006, 11:11 AM
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Well, that is pretty much common sense but the moralist bible thumpers in this country would never allow that to happen. It is the same thing with syringe exchange programs and global warming, statistics are irrelevant to a certain group of people.

This post has been edited by The Poster Formerly Known as Y2A: Jan 6 2006, 11:17 AM
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chisikwa
post Jan 6 2006, 06:58 PM
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QUOTE(The Poster Formerly Known as Y2A @ Jan 6 2006, 11:11 AM)
Well, that is pretty much common sense but the moralist bible thumpers in this country would never allow that to happen. It is the same thing with syringe exchange programs and global warming, statistics are irrelevant to a certain group of people.
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JLord
post Jan 6 2006, 07:12 PM
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I find that "bums" are the most scary thing for most people that they actually see on a daily basis. People would never go for anything that would involve giving alcohol to bums.

In addition, for many people anecdotal evidence has more value than scientific studies. So they would assume that giving them this alcohol would make them all crazy and rowdy, when in fact the reverese is true.
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Dakyron
post Jan 6 2006, 10:36 PM
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perhaps some believe that a person should not be rewarded for failure...

If they chronicly flaunt the law, lock them up, dont give them alcohol...
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JLord
post Jan 6 2006, 10:37 PM
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QUOTE(Dakyron @ Jan 6 2006, 03:36 PM)
If they chronicly flaunt the law, lock them up, dont give them alcohol...
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I'd rather just pay for some wine than to have them locked up.
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zaragosa
post Jan 6 2006, 11:33 PM
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Exactly. Everyone wins.
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Greenplanet65
post Jan 7 2006, 02:40 AM
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Hmmm.... using alcohol to treat alcoholism. Interesting concept. If the experiment works that would be good I suppose. I agree with Y2A however, this would never fly in America.

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QWOT
post Jan 8 2006, 06:59 AM
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You're kidding, right?

So the emergency hospital visits are down, what about inpatient visits for cirrhosis and other liver failure, renal failure, chronic pancreatitis, and other diseases positively linked to chronic alcohol abuse of the magnitude discussed here? There is no way that anyone can honestly suggest that 15 glasses of wine per day isn't damaging no matter how spaced out the servings are.


I'm all for letting people go to hell in their own way if that's the route they choose; but having the state actively contribute to such a self-destructive behavior as chronic alcohol abuse is asinine.
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zaragosa
post Jan 8 2006, 11:39 AM
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QUOTE(QWOT @ Jan 8 2006, 08:59 AM)
So the emergency hospital visits are down, what about inpatient visits for cirrhosis and other liver failure, renal failure, chronic pancreatitis, and other diseases positively linked to chronic alcohol abuse of the magnitude discussed here?  There is no way that anyone can honestly suggest that 15 glasses of wine per day isn't damaging no matter how spaced out the servings are.
*


The idea is of course to use the program toget these people into other forms of treatment and get them back into society.
Besides, I'm not sure just giving them alcohol would make a big difference in the inpatient visits...
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gnuneo
post Jan 8 2006, 09:01 PM
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QWOT: so you imaine these people arent drinking already? what they get is reduction of stress (extemely beneficial), very likely improvement in the quality of the alcohol (i suspect a nice chardonnay is somewhat better than a bottle of meths? Muz - you'll know this, whats your personal experience here?), and perhaps even the most important - a feeling that the community still cares about them.

of course we could just lock them up, and clean the streets that way.

SIEG HEIL!!!!
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Ryan_Liam
post Jan 9 2006, 03:44 AM
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How about having proper government funded AA meetings they have to attend regulary instead of giving them beer?
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QWOT
post Jan 9 2006, 04:32 AM
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QUOTE(gnuneo @ Jan 8 2006, 01:01 PM)
QWOT: so you imaine these people arent drinking already? what they get is reduction of stress (extemely beneficial), very likely improvement in the quality of the alcohol (i suspect a nice chardonnay is somewhat better than a bottle of meths? Muz - you'll know this, whats your personal experience here?), and perhaps even the most important - a feeling that the community still cares about them.

The community still cares about them?? :blink: If the community gave a damn about them, then the community would help them get into detox programs that help preserve their health, not a program that keeps them pacified with the drug that has already ruined their health and lives.

Feeding an addiction is the EASY approach, and it is also the most heartless and cruel way to deal with it. Very few ER doctors will take the time to stand up to a drug addicted or otherwise drug-seeking patient, notify the patient's primary physician (if they have one) about the behavior, and try to get them into a detox and/or rehab center; it's a hell of a lot easier to just feed their addiction, give them the damn valium or morphine or methadone, and get them the hell out of the ER. This program is IMHO exactly like that; it's writing these people off, taking the easy route by feeding their addiction rather than actually helping them. This program works on the principle of "out of sight, out of mind". Give them their drugs for free until their kidneys and liver stop working, then keep them on palliative care until they finally give up, and then toss them into the modern equivalent of the potters field; all safely hidden from the view of the more sensitive members of the community, who can salve their conscience by saying "well, at least we gave them a better quality of the drug that killed them." <_<

QUOTE(gnuneo @ Jan 8 2006, 01:01 PM)
of course we could just lock them up, and clean the streets that way.

SIEG HEIL!!!!

*


Nice. And what the fuck do you know about the situation? When was the last time you had to help clean up someone in an Emergency Room who was so drunk that they shit themselves? When was the last time you had to confront a hostile drunk who was threatening some of the smaller female nurses who were trying to treat them for alcohol poisoning, or renal failure, or a pancreatitis flare-up?

In case you're so isolated in that socialist paradise in your head that you hadn't heard about what really happens here in the U.S., here's a clue. The "drunk tank" no longer exists in reality. Cops don't want the paperwork associated with locking up a drunk (or drug user who overdoses) unless he's actually assaulted someone, so they just call an ambulance and dump them at the nearest hospital ER. The drunks don't want to be there; but in a lot of cases they need treatment (or at least to sober up) and they're too altered to be considered competent to refuse treatment, so the hospital ends up treating them. Believe me, nobody wants to treat a drunk or druggie who doesn't want to be there and is verbally assaultive (and occasionally physically assaultive); but we do anyhow.

We no longer give them taxi vouchers, except for a trip to the local detox center or homeless shelter. The reason for this policy? Too many of them were using the voucher not to get home (or to the homeless shelter), but to get to a convienence store and stock up on more alcohol. Again, it would be easier for us to just send them off to whatever hole they want to crawl into; but we're in our field to treat people, not to encourage or outright assist self-destructive behavior.


But that doesn't matter, because anyone who suggests anything except for giving these people what they want whenever they want is a cruel, soulless Nazi in gnuneoworld.
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QWOT
post Jan 9 2006, 04:38 AM
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QUOTE(zaragosa @ Jan 8 2006, 03:39 AM)
The idea is of course to use the program toget these people into other forms of treatment and get them back into society.
Besides, I'm not sure just giving them alcohol would make a big difference in the inpatient visits...
*


That was my point about the inpatient visits; it wouldn't have any effect. They would still be spending a lot of time at the hospital, especially the ones in ESRD or end-stage liver failure. Keep giving them ethanol, and you keep them on track for all those nasty chronic diseases that will put them in the hospital (ESRD, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, GI fistulas/hemorrhaging) and eventually kill them.

If this program is a short-term program whose goal is to move them into detox and rehabilitation, then my comments don't apply. My impression from the article was that the program was solely a long-term supply of alcohol, with no detox or rehab component. If they're in the program for 16 months or more, IMHO it doesn't sound like there is any movement to wean them away from their addiction and rehabilitiate them.
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gnuneo
post Jan 9 2006, 05:52 AM
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oh - so the Great God QWOT knows far better than they what they should do, or not do, with their lives? QWOT has decided, in his medically trained wisdom, that these are less than people who should be rounded up and forced into rehab clinics, because Great God QWOT knows the Truth of the Universe, the Meaning of Life, and so these people are to be denied the lifestyle THEY ARE CHOOSING?

yeah, i know the results of alcoholism, although probably not as closely as you have, but then *i'm* a strong supporter of voluntary euthanasia - if these people want to commit suicide, its their choice, not some flunky in a white coat who thinks he has more power and right to choose over these people than they should have over themseves.

so you, and other medical staff have to clean it up? Well gee shucks, sorry but thats the nature of your job - *I'VE* had to deal with the kids of these people, and worse - junkies, child abusers, depressives, suicides.

I can understand where you come from, after all without that impulse to 'save' you wouldnt have gone through all the training (unless you love the power & money!), but there comes a point when you have to wake up from that little dream and realise that these people have just as much right to choose their future as you do yours, and if they choose slow suicide its *ENTIRELY* their choice.

so, where do i go from there? Well its simple - find a way to reduce these peoples burden on society (especailly the social abuse), and see if theres some way society can still help them.

and this seems like an excellent way to do that - but you don't like it cos youre in the business of "saving people", like some bloody fundamentalist christain "hard love" crapola.

and perhaps you might even "save" one or two per hundred, with your refusal of their choices, but you condemn the rest to a slow and futile even longer drawn out death in the inhuman environs of a hospital or clinic, surrounded by people looking at them like theyre subhuman, instead of sitting around with their fellow alchies, in the company of something like equals enjoying the last few years until their bodies give out in the way that *they* choose.


have you never ever considered that Death is not the great enemy you imagine? have you never considered that others may have had this thought? what the hell gives you the authority to determine how a person can or cannot end their life?

am i callous? perhaps so - but at least i let people choose their own future, if thats callousness, then perhaps this world needs more of it.
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QWOT
post Jan 9 2006, 07:17 AM
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gnuneo,

If they want to off themselves, then that's fine with me. I don't want to take those choices away from them either.

But don't fucking FORCE me to contribute to their suicide through funding of programs such as these. If they CHOOSE to commit suicide via alcohol, then let them face the consequences of those actions. The money spent on that alcohol can be spent on people who WANT to be helped, not on someone who is intent on pissing it away in a slow suicide.

Let the resources be used to help people LIVE, or even on real euthanasia; not this bullshit of feeding their alcoholism that is in fact just another way of shoving them off into a corner where "polite society" won't have to deal with them.



As for the "great god QWOT" bullshit, as I said, have you ever encountered these people? The only reason that they lose the choice of treatment when brought to the hospital drunk is that they are too wasted for us to know what they really want. In fact, more than a couple thank us once they've sobered up. Then again, what do we know by waiting until they're sober and can think clearly to ask whether they want treatment or not? It's easier to take a drunk's word as you would, since that way you can just send them off to die and salve your conscience by claiming you "followed their wishes" and disregard the inconvienent evidence that they would probably ask for help if they were in their right minds.

Do these people really want to die? One of our "frequent fliers" died this past Christmas Day (briliant pianist BTW, but that's neither here nor there). If he really wanted to die, why was he a "full code"? That's right, when asked if he wanted to sign a Do Not Resuscitate form that meant that we wouldn't do anything invasive if his heart gave out (no intubation, defibrillation shocks, etc...), he refused and insisted that all possible means be used to keep him alive if his heart stopped. That is the rule with the "frequent fliers", not the exception. If you ask them, they want to live; while you'd just write them off and poison them to satisfy your infatuation with Death.
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post Jan 9 2006, 08:02 AM
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QUOTE(gnuneo @ Jan 9 2006, 12:52 AM)
oh - so the Great God QWOT knows far better than they what they should do, or not do, with their lives? QWOT has decided, in his medically trained wisdom, that these are less than people who should be rounded up and forced into rehab clinics, because Great God QWOT knows the Truth of the Universe, the Meaning of Life, and so these people are to be denied the lifestyle THEY ARE CHOOSING?

yeah, i know the results of alcoholism, although probably not as closely as you have, but then *i'm* a strong supporter of voluntary euthanasia - if these people want to commit suicide, its their choice, not some flunky in a white coat who thinks he has more power and right to choose over these people than they should have over themseves.

so you, and other medical staff have to clean it up? Well gee shucks, sorry but thats the nature of your job - *I'VE* had to deal with the kids of these people, and worse - junkies, child abusers, depressives, suicides.

I can understand where you come from, after all without that impulse to 'save' you wouldnt have gone through all the training (unless you love the power & money!), but there comes a point when you have to wake up from that little dream and realise that these people have just as much right to choose their future as you do yours, and if they choose slow suicide its *ENTIRELY* their choice.

so, where do i go from there? Well its simple - find a way to reduce these peoples burden on society (especailly the social abuse), and see if theres some way society can still help them.

and this seems like an excellent way to do that - but you don't like it cos youre in the business of "saving people", like some bloody fundamentalist christain "hard love" crapola.

and perhaps you might even "save" one or two per hundred, with your refusal of their choices, but you condemn the rest to a slow and futile even longer drawn out death in the inhuman environs of a hospital or clinic, surrounded by people looking at them like theyre subhuman, instead of sitting around with their fellow alchies, in the company of something like equals enjoying the last few years until their bodies give out in the way that *they* choose.
have you never ever considered that Death is not the great enemy you imagine? have you never considered that others may have had this thought? what the hell gives you the authority to determine how a person can or cannot end their life?

am i callous? perhaps so - but at least i let people choose their own future, if thats callousness, then perhaps this world needs more of it.
*




This is coming from someone who supports the welfare state.

Fucking hypocrit.
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gnuneo
post Jan 9 2006, 08:03 AM
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QUOTE
  gnuneo,

If they want to off themselves, then that's fine with me. I don't want to take those choices away from them either.


kay.
QUOTE
But don't fucking FORCE me to contribute to their suicide through funding of programs such as these. If they CHOOSE to commit suicide via alcohol, then let them face the consequences of those actions. The money spent on that alcohol can be spent on people who WANT to be helped, not on someone who is intent on pissing it away in a slow suicide.


and back to the old money argument - as the study has shown, its far *cheaper* to supply them with better quality alcohol, in a steady intake, than it is to deal with their emotional issues when they can't get any.

whilst its not about money (and despite what you said i doubt it is for you either), the simple fact of the matter is, as zara said, in this scenario *everyone* wins.

QUOTE
Let the resources be used to help people LIVE, or even on real euthanasia; not this bullshit of feeding their alcoholism that is in fact just another way of shoving them off into a corner where "polite society" won't have to deal with them.


yeah, in a way it is. But that doesnt detract from the fact that in another way it isnt. Its looking at a social problem without the distortion of wishful/religious thinking, seeing the various elemetns, and finding a good solution, or the best one possible. Certainly i would agree that euthanasia *should* be open for the individual, for the individuals choice. But i disagree entirely with your definition of "living" - its ironically almost identical, indeed actually identical, to the thinking of the 'polite society' you were busy insulting (correctly, IMHO). Yes i've spent a little time with these people, not a great deal but enough to understand the bare bones of their thinking, and i tell you what - no matter they are destroying their bodies, its stil their choice. i have seen people in india *living* in a refuse tip, a landfill site, life expectancy almost certainly far short of what these people in our societies will achieve, even with the alcohol, scrabbling just to survive from day to day. Should these peope also be rounded up and put into clinics? i have met gypsies and travellers, who also reject the values of mainstream society, and lead lives that put them in severe danger - should these people also be rounded up and put into clinics?

the one single fact that all life has to face upon creation, is that at some point that life will end. Let the people choose as they will, not one of us here will be alive in a mere 100yrs, an eyeblink to the universe.
QUOTE

As for the "great god QWOT" bullshit, as I said, have you ever encountered these people? The only reason that they lose the choice of treatment when brought to the hospital drunk is that they are too wasted for us to know what they really want. In fact, more than a couple thank us once they've sobered up. Then again, what do we know by waiting until they're sober and can think clearly to ask whether they want treatment or not? It's easier to take a drunk's word as you would, since that way you can just send them off to die and salve your conscience by claiming you "followed their wishes" and disregard the inconvienent evidence that they would probably ask for help if they were in their right minds.


LOL - of course i have dealt with drunks in my time, DUH!!! and i have stopped some drunks from doing various stupid crap throughout my adult life - its just normal human behaviour. But we are not talking about the specific time they are 'out of it', we are talking their general life - and that can only be in their hands, no matter how dumb they want to be. Sure, if someone is a danger to *others* then there are already laws preventing people from harming others, and they can be invoked. But i see absolutely no reason why people should not be allowed to harm themselves - in fact once you take that right away, theres nothing left.

QUOTE
Do these people really want to die? One of our "frequent fliers" died this past Christmas Day (briliant pianist BTW, but that's neither here nor there). If he really wanted to die, why was he a "full code"? That's right, when asked if he wanted to sign a Do Not Resuscitate form that meant that we wouldn't do anything invasive if his heart gave out (no intubation, defibrillation shocks, etc...), he refused and insisted that all possible means be used to keep him alive if his heart stopped. That is the rule with the "frequent fliers", not the exception. If you ask them, they want to live; while you'd just write them off and poison them to satisfy your infatuation with Death.


yes, they want to LIVE - yet you would strip of their human dignity, their right to choose their own future, and force them into a clinic, where they will almost cetainly be deeply unhappy, and will jump back on the booze as soon as released. Theres a terrible fact, and perhaps it only grows up on you as you get older, but it is a simple fact that when you get older, you run your options out. These people have nothing 'great' to look forward to, they have no dreams of owning fast cars, big houses, sleeping with supermodels, fly to the moon, they are happy if their friends or relatives come by and just talk to them, they are happy to be with their friends in the parks, enjoying the open air and freedom, slowly letting go of the necessary responsibilities needed to survive here, and just... being.

yes, of course some, perhaps many, would behappy if you took over their lives, forced them to wash, to eat well, to exercise, to add on a few extra years at the end, but how many would truly beleive it would make any difference to them?

as long as there is alcohol and a free(ish) society people will end like this, its the combination of the drug and human nature (a society where ie E was the common drug instead of alcohol would also have its dropouts - not necessarily the same people, but the same situation), people simply fuck their lives up, and then stop caring and go their own way.

now, yes - its a tragedy, a damn crying shame of a tragedy, but thats LIFE. We can help people (and of course be helped), but there is a line where 'help' becomes intrusive and controlling, and whilst that line is difficult to find, as its probably different for different people, in different situations, at different times, and that is a line that the carers must be careful not to cross.

would i choose a world where people do not become drug addicts? yes, given a choice of worlds and realities probably i would, but i don't live in such a reality, and people *do* become addicts, and people *do* fuck up their lives, and people *do* apparently deliberately aim for self-destruction, and, curiously, sometimes compassion will tell you to let them do it.

at the end of the day, letting somebody choose to die, even in such a painful, mesy and horrible way, has more dignity to it, than a human shaped creature that the doctors attempt to keep alive with no regard whatsoever for their individual humanity, their right to choose.

this program still seems like a good idea to me.
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gnuneo
post Jan 9 2006, 08:06 AM
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QUOTE
This is coming from someone who supports the welfare state.

Fucking hypocrit.


explain.

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bigboy
post Jan 9 2006, 08:21 AM
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QUOTE(gnuneo @ Jan 9 2006, 03:06 AM)
explain.
*


You want us to give everyone a chance to ruin their lives.

But want to give them money so their lives arn't ruined.

Or booze, so they can do it faster.

While taking more money that we give them so they don't starve to death.

This post has been edited by bigboy: Jan 9 2006, 08:22 AM
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zaragosa
post Jan 9 2006, 10:29 AM
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QUOTE(QWOT @ Jan 9 2006, 06:38 AM)
If this program is a short-term program whose goal is to move them into detox and rehabilitation, then my comments don't apply.
*


QUOTE(zaragosa @ Jan 6 2006, 01:00 PM)
"Once we give a 'small amount' of alcohol and stabilize the addiction, we are able to provide health services that lead to a reduction in the unnecessary health services they were getting before," said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, one of the authors of the report.

"The alcohol gets them in, builds the trust and then we have the opportunity to treat other medical diseases... It's about improving the quality of life."
*


I interpret 'medical programs' as including detox, which is why I strongly support initiatives like these.
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gnuneo
post Jan 9 2006, 05:33 PM
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QUOTE
You want us to give everyone a chance to ruin their lives.


of course - the illusion (or not) of free will makes everything worthwhile, without having the freedom to choose 'wrong' the individual cannot choose 'right'. stephen donaldson in the 'thomas covenant' series gives the best myth why this is so.
QUOTE
But want to give them money so their lives arn't ruined.


i not only see no problem with attempting to help as many as possible to 'making it' in life, i even go so far as to say that that behaviour is one of the chief characteristics of a true Human.
QUOTE
Or booze, so they can do it faster.


if they so wish - but think, if its *what they want*, is their life actually ruined? Only if they then later become self-pitying about what they have chosen, how they responded to what life threw at them. we all die, its how we live that counts.
QUOTE
While taking more money that we give them so they don't starve to death.


BB: you may have trouble beleiving this, but i tell you for sure - there is far more than enough 'money' or resources on this planet that *everyone* can have a good life, a few dollars a week is not breaking the bank - not unless that bank is being raided from the front to pay for armaments for futile wars.

QUOTE
I interpret 'medical programs' as including detox, which is why I strongly support initiatives like these.


and if the individual accepts the alcohol, and stops being such a 'menace' to polite society, and accepts the medical services and the trust-building measures, YET still refuses to go to a detox process - would you then threaten, or even cut off their clean supply?

i have to say, despite being on THAT continent (:P), i'm becoming a little impressed with canada. This is a genius move obviously translated from the very highly effective heroin program, and i hope its common sense attitude will win out against the opposition of religious lunatics, secular saviors, and liberal do-gooders.
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necrolyte
post Jan 21 2006, 03:47 AM
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QUOTE(QWOT @ Jan 9 2006, 04:38 AM)
That was my point about the inpatient visits; it wouldn't have any effect.  They would still be spending a lot of time at the hospital, especially the ones in ESRD or end-stage liver failure.  Keep giving them ethanol, and you keep them on track for all those nasty chronic diseases that will put them in the hospital (ESRD, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, GI fistulas/hemorrhaging) and eventually kill them.

If this program is a short-term program whose goal is to move them into detox and rehabilitation, then my comments don't apply.  My impression from the article was that the program was solely a long-term supply of alcohol, with no detox or rehab component.  If they're in the program for 16 months or more, IMHO it doesn't sound like there is any movement to wean them away from their addiction and rehabilitiate them.
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Whats long-term, whats short-term?
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Demosthenes
post Jan 21 2006, 04:32 AM
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First of all, I agree with this idea. Creating a short term program like this will definitely help them have a better chance of recovery. 'Tough love' has not worked; alcoholism is still a major problem in many societies. I put this question to the people who are anti-boozeprogram, that should the government pay for the methadone and treatments if said addicts have a high chance of becoming re-addicted.

I am not a economist, but I would assume creating this alcohol program, but assuming such existing programs like AA would be implemented, wouldn't the cost-benefit analysis of creating such a program (consider statistics shown; a decrease in crime and hospital trips saves taxpayers thousands) be in our best interests even if some of the participants are not successful? The cost of 40 bucks of Wine a day is probably cheaper than the policework needed when such addicts commit acts of crime to get the funds necessary to get their alcohol?
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