Australia combats NZ “brain drain” with free alcohol


Our trans-Tasman neighbours in Sydney are battling an alcoholism crisis among its homeless, and lawmakers may yet turn to alcohol to try and save them.

Addiction experts in Australia claim that giving free drinks to homeless alcoholics could actually improve their health.

The practice is already used in Canada, where alcoholics at some homeless shelters are given a measure of wine at hourly intervals to try and curb their binge drinking.

In New South Wales, most homeless people need to be alcohol free before they can access help from the state, so giving them free drinks while they’re still on the streets might be the answer.

Experts say giving up to 15 drinks a day to alcoholics in a controlled environment could help them lead a more healthy life.

It’s estimated almost half of Sydney’s homeless population are acute alcoholics.

It would be a boon for the wine industry as well.

The idea of a ‘wet shelter’ was mooted to help Wellington’s homeless alcoholics in 2009, but the project was fiercely opposed by locals in the suburb of Island Bay where the shelter was to be built.

The Capital and Coast District Health Board eventually pulled the pin on the project when the trust behind it could not come up with a five year funding plan.

Managed alcohol programmes (MAPS) similar to Canada’s are in operation in Norway, the US and the UK.

Free booze on the taxpayer could be cheaper than all the taxpayer-funded health care and social support needed when they are constantly legless, lawless and dancing naked in the park.

But the whole idea feels like society stops trying. How about drying them out and see if they can hold down a job?


– Newshub