June 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Homeless in San Francisco "poured" regularly and free

Neither more nor less – San Francisco authorities spend $5 million a year on free drinks for homeless alcoholics.

Edition BB.LV tells, that activists oppose this approach, arguing that it does not solve the problem of alcoholism. San Francisco health officials, who spend large amounts of money each year on a program designed to reduce the number of incidents involving homeless alcoholics, have come under fire from temperance activists, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The publication says the “alcohol program” was created in San Francisco four years ago and is designed to help homeless people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol and then become some of the highest users of emergency services.

Experts argued that such seemingly counterintuitive measures helped “keep people off the streets and off emergency rooms, prisons or morgues.” Indeed, San Francisco public health officials found that the city saved $1.7 million in six months by reducing the number of emergency calls.

Initially, the program assumed the presence of 10 beds and 55 clients, later their number doubled. Annual expenditures for this purpose amount to $5 million. The publication explains: “Nurses distribute regulated doses of vodka and beer to participants at certain times of the day, in accordance with care plans.”

However, local activists are against it. In particular, Adam Nathan, CEO of an artificial intelligence company, said that providing free doses to drug addicts and alcoholics does not solve their problems.

But the program also has its defenders. UCSB School of Nursing professor Shannon Smith-Bernardin explained that the goal of this effort and spending is to stabilize participants' drinking “so they don't binge drink.”

The final decision on the fate of the original program has not yet been made, public discussions continue.

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