Yukon government says renovations are underway to open a managed alcohol program this spring.
Also known as MAP, the program helps provide care for those struggling with severe alcohol use dependency.
Program staff provide supervised medically prescribed doses of beverage alcohol at regular intervals. Health care and social support services will also be provided.
The program will be operated out of the former St. Elias adult group home in downtown Whitehorse. It will house up to 10 live-in clients.
According to a government press release, there are approximately 42 managed alcohol programs across Canada.
“I think there’s a number of benefits to managed alcohol programs, and we’ve seen them in other areas across the country,” said Cameron Grandy, the territory’s director of mental wellness and substance use services.
Those benefits, he said, include improvements in family relationships, ability to care for medical issues and community engagement.
“They report just having a better quality of life,” he said.
Grandy said the program will help people who, due to severe alcohol use disorder, may consume non-beverage alcohol like rubbing alcohol, mouthwash and aftershave lotion.
“Sometimes when you really require alcohol, you might drink what’s available, which could be non-beverage alcohol, which is really hard on someone’s health,” he said.
The release states the program is expected to reduce hospital admissions, emergency department visits and interactions with the RCMP.
It was developed in collaboration with community partners, including First Nations, and supports commitments made in the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) with the Yukon NDP.
NDP leader Kate White said in the release she was proud to see the CASA helping vulnerable people in the territory.
“We’ve seen this work in cities across Canada and it’s long overdue here in Whitehorse,” she said.
The release states the territory has high rates of alcohol consumption, which are among the highest in Canada.