N.W.T. to consider managed alcohol programs
'No one program fits all. We need to come with more options,' says health minister
N.W.T.'s health minister says he's prepared to consider managed alcohol programs, which give alcoholics set amounts of liquor throughout the day, for the Northwest Territories.
Some Canadian cities have found managed alcohol programs lowered health care and emergency services costs.
"We've heard from residents across the Northwest Territories. What they want is options," said Glen Abernethy in the legislature Thursday.
"No one program fits all. We need to come with more options."
Abernethy says his department is looking at other jurisdictions for better ways to manage addictions in the N.W.T.
"I have committed and I will commit again, the department will research all of these established programs, identify emerging best practices for addictions treatment which include this particular model — managed alcohol program."
Expanded hours at day shelter
Abernethy says his department is already looking at expanding the hours of Yellowknife's day shelter, and moving it to "a more appropriate" location.
There's also talk of a sobering centre — a safe place for people to sober up. Abernethy says that's where a managed alcohol program would fit best.
"I am dismayed to see that one of the most pressing concerns, that of addiction, still continues to plague our streets and hold our people back from achieving healthy and productive lives," Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart said in the legislature.
He said managed alcohol programs are an evidence-based option.
Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green and Yellowknife North MLA Cory Vanthuyne also said they'd support a managed alcohol program in Yellowknife.
Abernethy said the department will research all established programs and identify best practices for addictions treatment which include the managed alcohol model. He vowed to make that research public once it's completed.
with files from Hilary Bird