One of the best examples of harm reduction as a policy for dealing with alcohol-related problems in the U.S. is a program commonly known as the wet house. Most wet houses are publicly-supported residential facilities that provide clean and secure rooms for individuals who are homeless and chronically dependent on alcohol. However, wet houses are not treatment centers. Instead, residents are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages on the premises freely, as long as they do not disturb or endanger other residents. There is no expectation that they will attempt to seek treatment or stop drinking. In fact, many wet house residents eventually drink themselves to death. Not surprisingly, the wet house is a controversial approach to the management of alcohol problems, with some critics arguing that it abandons any hope for helping residents overcome their dependence on alcohol. What do you think? Do you approve of this approach to harm reduction or do you oppose the use of public funds to support the drinking practices of chronic alcoholics?Note: If you miss the in-class discussion, you’ll need to make at least a 500+ word post to this online forum since there will be limited interaction with classmates online.
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