Managed alcohol program (MAP)

“In Toronto, a managed alcohol program (MAP) was initiated following a coronial enquiry into the freezing deaths of problem drinkers who had been denied access to shelter accommodation. Emulated in four other sites, MAPs involve the provision of accommodation alongside controlled access to alcohol to replace non-beverage alcohol and reduce heavy drinking episodes for individuals otherwise resistant to abstinence treatment.

This harm reduction approach is increasingly being considered in Canada as a response to the harms of unstable housing and severe alcohol problems that have not been responsive to abstinence-based treatment. Related motivation is to encourage reduced use of non-beverage sources of alcohol such as methylated spirits, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer and mouthwash.

These programs still attract scepticism and controversy. This project aims to provide a rigourous evaluation of health and social outcomes for 200+ program participants across five Canadian MAP sites in comparison with 200+ similar individuals drawn from nearby non-MAP agencies. Benefits, potential harms and best practices will be investigated by accessing health and police records, conducting brief interviews monthly for up to two years and in-depth interviews with clients and program staff.”

Find more from University of Victoria (Canada, 2020)

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