Monday, December 19, 2005

Concentration Camps for Alkies?

(Via The Seattle Times)

Seventy-five hard-core alcoholics, accustomed to living on the streets and spending nights in emergency rooms, detox centers or jail cells, are about to get an invitation to move into a new apartment building all their own on the edge of downtown Seattle.

There is a proviso, however. While allowed to drink all the booze they want in their rooms, they must agree to behave responsibly when outside. That's because the tenants now will be neighbors in a business district that plans to watch them closely for any slip-ups.


Each tenant of the building, named 1811 Eastlake, will have been addicted to alcohol for at least 15 years and failed at alcohol treatment at least six times. Most will be at least 45 years old, and the chance of ever getting sober is next to nil.

Okay, maybe I'm being paranoid here, but is there any reason to believe that these alcoholics will do anything but drink themselves to death in this kind of set up? Is that maybe what the powers that be want? And then what, hose the units out and set up the next group of drunks?

(From the Downtown Emergency Center literature)

The clinical literature tells us the overwhelming majority of the CPI population will never get clean and sober (only 5% will ever reach and maintain sobriety). Also, the majority of CPIs are unable to access or maintain shelter due to their addictive illnesses and the prohibition of on-site alcohol in shelters. These are individuals who have attempted traditional abstinencerequired treatment and have failed repeatedly. Residents will not be required to abstain from drinking. If they were, they would not access this program, and we would not be serving the target population.

So are they saying here that they basically "give up" and figure the best thing to do is give these poor folks a place to die? This seems like a major step backwards towards the days when "wet brains" were locked up in padded cells and left to piss on themselves.

I dunno. As a recovering alcoholic I find this extremely dubious. It's like the old days of going under your desk at school for the atomic bomb drills. It wouldn't protect you, but would make your body easier to find and identify.

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