Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Canada’s supervised ‘drinking sites’ for street alcoholics

In Ottawa and Hamilton, supervised “drinking sites” are helping chronically homeless street drinkers. Josh D. Evans, a researcher at McMaster University, told attendees of the 7th International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH) the drinking site programs are aimed at people who binge on mouthwash and rice wine.

They are run out of a homeless shelter in downtown Ottawa and a facility on a hospital campus outside central Hamilton.

Each provides limited amounts of alcohol to clients throughout the day, together with other programming and social supports. The facilities are designed to provide a secure, “therapeutic” environment, and results suggest that they succeed in helping the men and women control their drinking and gain a sense of security, independence and “home”.

Evans told the meeting that clients expressed greater satisfaction with the Hamilton location, which was some distance from the city streets where most clients spent their time before entering the program.

This is just one of many innovative public health experiments yielding valuable data for international attendees of the major urban health conference held two weeks ago in Vancouver.

This is my sixth and last blog post from the event. I’d invite Metro Vancouver’s next cohort of civic leaders to not only have a look at what I’ve posted here in The Hook’s Health section, but to take advantage of the cutting edge information provided by all the presenters at the conference.

You can review what was presented in the conference program.

The sessions provide an excellent education for any politician or policy-maker as they consider calls to make supervised injection, supportive housing and other facilities for drug-dependent, mentally ill and homeless people more available outside the confines of the Downtown Eastside.

Jim Boothroyd was spokesperson for the NAOMI project conducting prescribed heroin trials in Vancouver, and researches and writes for the World Health Organization and others. The views expressed here are his own.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus