Sudbury

Work being done to improve managed alcohol program in Sudbury

Organizers in Sudbury have found that a managed alcohol program for the homeless doesn't work well in a day-time format.

Program has been running for two years

Organizers in Sudbury have found that a managed alcohol program for the homeless doesn't work well in a day-time format.

The program, which is run by the Canadian Mental Health Association, works by having staff administer doses of alcohol to chronically addicted people to stave off detoxing and help them stabilize.

Cindy Rose, who oversees the program, says the first two years of the program were assessed by a team from the University of Victoria and found the health of the participants didn't really improve.

Rose says people often left the program at night in search of booze.

Cindy Rose oversees the managed alcohol program in Sudbury. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

"The studies did find that there wasn't a lot of decrease in the alcohol, there was just a lot more support to be able to assist them with medical and other services," she explained.

But Rose says there were also successes, particularly in keeping clients out of hospital.

"In nine months we saved over, almost the equivalent of $50,000 in [emergency department] visits alone just for eight people so you can see that in a small quantity it really did do benefit," she said.

Rose says the program is working better now that it is residential with eight clients under one roof since May.

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With files from Kate Rutherford

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